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From 1787 to 1855 


Collected and Edited 


WILLIAM KNIGHX- . - : - - : - ' i : \ 

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/ V C'f. I '■ f> '."'X AND 

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Entbrbd at Stationbrs' Halx, 

Copyright, 1907 

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CCXLII. Desires Lord L/s influence to secure an office which 

might allow considerable time for study i 

CCLI. " I shall with pride and pleasure accept annually the sum 
offered by your lordship " ; government pensions for literary men 13 


_, - - ., 

CCXLIII. The estrangement from Coleridge VafcaJjdlbris his ^J ". ^^ 
determination to confront Coleridge and Monia^»». '*. ". . . , 3-. 
CCXLV. Meets Coleridge after the estrangement ;'i-. ^t - -• \\ 


CCXLIV. " Regular churchgoers "; Charles and Ms^^j'Lam)) ;^ ^ ^ 
William's communications to Montagu regarding Cdreridge . . 4 
CCXLVII. A walk to Hackett with Samuel Tillbrook .... 10 
CCXLIX. Friendly relations with Coleridge restored .... 21 

CCXLVI. Death of Catherine Wordsworth 9 

CCL. Death of Thomas Wordsworth 12 


CCXLVIII. Asks information regarding an eligible office . . 11 

CCLI I. The character of his deceased son, Thomas .... 14 


I813 Pag 

CCLIII. The characteristics of Thomas Wordsworth . . . . i 


CCLIV. Tender memories of Thomas . . i 

CCLV. Rydal Mount; parting thoughts of Grasmere .... i* 


CCLVI. Mr. North's selfishness; "the green graves in our 
churchyard"; Coleridge's deceptive self-confidence ; his sons . i; 
CCLVIII. The furnishing of Rydal Mount; memories of 
Thomas ; ** Next year's plans " 2 


CCLVII. The death of his children ; '* my literary employments 
• r ?; ^rin^/nenae^;dowments"; political views i< 

. ^^LI^.r;A^W!ant no pensions for our heirs" 2 

• • .. •• •• 

• • • • - o 


CCLX. " Reading of far less use than it used to be " ; Hartley 

Coleridge's educational needs 2. 

n/'CCLXII. 71kg IVAitg Dog 0/ I^ylstang ; hopes for Coleridge . 2 
CCLXIII. William's projected publications ; the deceased chil- 
dren; Napoleon's banishment- to Elba 21 

v^CLXIX. Hazlitt's review of Tkg Excursion 3, 

^ , CCLXI. The benefits possible from an armed yeomanry ... 2 

CCLXVIII. A reference to the Bullion Committee's report . . 3 

CCLXIV, " Busy with the printer's devils " on TAg Excursion 2 



CCLXV. Hartley Coleridge's education ; present life and labors 28 


CCLXVI. Rogers' poems; ''about to print eight thousand 
lines"; an excursion to Scotland 31 


CCLXVII. " The errors of the BuUionists" j unfairness of The 
Quarterly Review 32 


\f CCLXX. Yarrow Visited; advice to a poet 34 

CCLXXI. G.'s Egbert; "A bad writer, Lord Byron"; Hogg 

and The Queen's Wake 36 

CCLXXII. The composition of poetry ; " your Exile "; Hogg ; 
"high respect for Scott's talents and attainments." 38 

CCLXXIII. Patty Smith's criticism of The Excursion ... 40 


CCLXXrV. The Quarterly's review of The Excursion .... 44 
CCLXXV. " A crushing revievf " of The Excursion ; the recep- 
tion of the poem 45 


CCLXXVI. A postscript to Letter CCLXXV 47 


CCLXXVII. Reasons for dedicating the new Poems .... 48 

CCLXXVIII. An added stanza to Laodamia 49 

• • • 



CCLXXIX. The new edition of Poems ; Beattie contrasted 
with Hogg ; suggests a poetic story of the Highlands ; Lucien 

/Bonaparte's Charlemagne 50 
CCLXXXII. Guy Mannering and Waverley 57 


CCLXXX. Provisions for the support of Hartley Coleridge at 
Oxford ; " the importance I attach to the Madras system " . . 52 


CCLXXX I. Opinions on The Excursion from James Mont- 
gomery and " the ingenuous poet " of Derby 55 

CCLXXXVI. The Duke of Devonshire's interest in The Excur- 
sion ; Ha^litt's review 61 

CCLXXXIX. A memory of first entrance to Grasmere ; mak- 
ing a final settlement with Richard Wordsworth 64 

CCXC. A journey with William to Sockbridge 66 


CCLXXXIII. Regarding the financial obligations of his brother 
Richard to Dorothy and himself 58 

CCLXXXIV. The character of the French people 60 


CCLXXXV. Waterloo and the abdication of Napoleon ... 60 
CCLXXX VII. An obituary notice for Mr. Luff of Patterdale . 62 

CCLXXXVIII. Canova and the Elgin Marbles ; three sonnets 63 



CCXCI. His epistolary defects; Virgil's Eclogues; The White 
Doe ; his children 67 


CCXCII. Your Paris Revisited in constant use ; character of 
the Duke of Wellington ; " the calamities of these times "; duty 
of an English Opposition ; a word on Spanish affairs .... 69 
CCXCIII. Declines a suggested work; The Convention of 

Cintra ; "in nothing are xa^ principles changed" 72 

CCXCIV. Now able to comply with S.*s request; the Thanks- 
giving Ode ; upon S.*s writings; the field of English prose . . 74 
CCXCV. Invites criticism upon MSS. ; Henry Brougham . . 76 
CCXCIX. The merits of the Opposition; **one word upon 

Lord B."; "the Billingsgate of Bedlam" 81 

CCCI. The need of military establishments 84 

CCCIII. Richard Wordsworth's estate ; advice regarding the 
disposition of The Champion ; the connections between genius 
and irregularity of conduct ; " a word upon politics " 86 


CCXCVI. A description of the Wordsworth children .... 78 

CCCII. Sara Coleridge and Edith Southey 85 

CCCV. The small sales of Wordsworth's poetry 93 


CCXCVII. Sonnets in The Examiner and The Champion ; the 

Thanksgiving Ode 79 

CCXCVIII. Gray's poetry; a message to John Wilson ... 80 

CCCVI. A hint on versification 94 


CCC. The death of S.'s son Herbert 83 


CCC IV. A visit from Mr. Cargill; traveling directions to 
Rydal Mount ; his recent verse ; the present ministry .... 90 


CCCVII. The spontaneousness of his poetry 95 


I817 Page 


CCC VIII. *' I am an alarmist ** ; the disintegration of the har- 
monious dependence between the various classes of society . . 96 
CCCXI. Commends the recent purchase of an estate by S. ; 

questions for a cabinet minister 100 

CCCXV. The proper education for a lawyer 105 


CCCIX. William oppressed by "cares which have fallen upon 
him through mismanagement"; the settlement of Richard 
Wordsworth's affairs ; William Smith's attack on Southey . . 97 
CCCXVI. Derwent Coleridge going to his father 107 


CCCX. Requests a favor for Thomas Monkhouse; inquires 
about mutual friends ; a subscriber to Bernard Barton's poems 98 


CCCXII. Dr. Chalmers; Fumess Abbey; Southey's letter re- 
plying to William Smith's attack 102 

CCC XIII. Has not seen any new thing except a bust of himself 104 


CCCXIV, A view from the top of Helvellyn 105 

CCCXVII. Sir George and Lady Beaumont returned from Hal- 
stead ; the Wilberforces 107 


CCCXVIII. A criticism of G.'s writings 108 



CCCXIX. Moral reflections upon success no 

CCC XX. Large estates as a counterbalance to democratic com- 
mercial activities no 


CCCXXI. ** King and constitution " in preference to ** churc. 

and king " 

CCCXXII. Two letters signed "A Friend to Truth"; "the 
propriety of precautionary measures for augmenting the num- 
bers of trustworthy freeholders " 1 1 1 

CCCXXIV. "The rural stamina of this outbreak" . . . .113 
CCCXXVI. His object in writing Two Addresses to the Free- 
holders in Westmoreland , 115 

CCCXXVIII. "The feudal power yet surviving is eminently 
serviceable** 116 


CCCXXIII'. "A little sound good-government doctrine*' ; the 
approaching elections 112 


CCCXXV. The age at which to send a son to college; relative 
advantages of large and small colleges .114 


CCCXXVII. Attacks on private character unjustifiable in polit- 
ical campaigns 115' 

CCCXXIX. The division of freehold estates to increase voters 116 



CCCXXX. Betty Yewdale ; a visit from Mrs. Coleridge, Sara 
Coleridge, and Edith Southey; Hartley and Derwent Coleridge 117 
CCCXXX V. The charm of Rydal Mount for children . . .127 
CCCXXXVI. The Coleridge children 127 


CCCXXXI. His nomination as a Commissioner of the Peace 118 
CCCXXXII. At work upon a translation of the /Eneid ; the 
metrical requirements of such work ; Dryden*s Virgil . .119 

CCCXXX I II. Further reference to the translation of the ^neid 1 23 




CCCXXXIV. Rogers* Human Life ; Blackwood's Magazine; 
Lord Lonsdale; W.*s VirgiVs Eclogues ; "my reading powers" 124 
CCCXXXVII. A saying of Dr. Johnson's ; " my writing desk 
a place of punishment"; his reading and library; "bulky old 
commentaries on the Scriptures " 1 27 


CCCXXXVIII. Relief for the Stephens orphans at Sedburgh ; 

an impression of Liverpool 129 


CCCXXXIX. Requests advice regarding an investment . . .130 


/CCCXL. A testimonial to W.*s qualifications for the chair of 
\/ moral philosophy at Edinburgh -131 

> CCCXLI. A projected tour in Ireland ; sights in Scotland . . 132 

CCCXLII. Her itinerary in Switzerland 134 

CCCXLIII. A fate day in Milan ; the cathedral 135 

CCCXLIV. A note to Miss Rogers ; "my nephew William" . 136 



CCCXLV. The burial of John Myers; "Long Meg and her 
daughters ";" a word about Coleorton " 137 

1 Christopher North. 


• • • 



CCCXLVI. A game at " speculation " ; Christopher and Charles 

Wordsworth 140 

CCCL. T\\QEccUsiasticalSonnets;SoMihQy*s Vision of Judgment 146 

CCCLIII. Her own and Mary Wordsworth's journals . . . .150 


CCCXLVIL Southey*s Fw«w ^y«<^OT^»/ ; greetings to friends 141 
CCCXLIX. John Scott*s death; Barry Cornwall's Mirandola ; 
"frog poets, mice poets, and fly poets" ; John Moultrie's verses 143 


CCCXLVIII. " Ornament engrafted upon infirmity " ; a visit 

from Sou they; messages to friends 142 

CCCLVI. Dr. Holland, the Albanian traveler ; Colonel and 
Mrs. Holmes ; a postscript by Mary Wordsworth 154 


CCCLI. The Catholic question ; Canning's speech 147 

CCCLII. The debates on the Catholic question 149 

CCCLI V. Introducing H. Crabb Robinson 151 


CCCLV. Acknowledges a gift of L.'s Idyllia Heroica; objec- 
tions to the use of Latin for modern works 152 

CCCLVII. Ordering casts of C.'s bust ; Mr. Carruthers . . .157 


CCCLVI II. Requests advice for Strickland Cookson ; the 
Quillinans ; the death of John Lamb ; the Elegiac Stanzas on 

the death of F. W. Goddard . 158 

CCCLXII. The Lambs ; Coleridge's article in Blackwood^s . .166 



CCCLIX. The modification of his views on the subject of 
government; his political principles defined 162 


CCCLX. On efforts to distribute copies of the Scriptures . .164 


CCCLXI. Felicitations upon his engagement to marry; Words- 
worth writing the Memorials of a Tour on the Continent . . .165 


CCCLXIII. " My determination has been to have no connection 
with any periodical publication'' 167 



CCCLXIV. A message to Gifford ; " that infamous publication, 
Don Juan'' 168 


CCCLXV. The Memorials of a Tour on the Continent ... 169 
CCCLXXVI. A parody by Wordsworth and Sarah Hutchinson 189 


CCCLXVI. Appreciation of R.*s letter ; the Lambs; Sergeant 
Rough; <^the tour poems"; neighborhood happenings; a 

magazine article by Hartley Coleridge 169 

CCCLXX. Mr. Monkhouse; the Memorials ; a review in the 
Literary Gazette; Christopher Wordsworth ; Miss Hutchinson 

" a determined French scholar '' 181 

CCCLXXVIII. Desires further account of R.'s travels in 
Switzerland; a sonnet on Moscow .192 


CCCLX VII. The Memorials and Ecclesiastical Sketches ; the 
Guide to the Lakes 175 



CCCLXXV. His lack of confidence in the French funds; 

ogers' advice regarding Dorothy's Journal i88 

CCCLXXVII. Dorothy's journey in Scotland ; the investment 

in the French funds 191 

CCCLXXIX. Submits his investment to S.'s discretion . . . 196 

CCCLXVIII. Recommending T. Hutchinson as a land agent . 177 


CCCLXIX. Mr. Quillinan ; Latin poetry ; L.'s Sponsalia and 
Sitnanidea ; an apology for sonnet writing 179 

CCCLXXI. Chantrey's bust ; C.'s writings 184 

CCCLXXII. A serious accident to William 185 

CCCLXXIII. Travels in the vale of Nith 185 


CCCLXXIV. Requests his assistance in finding a publisher for 
Dorothy's y<wr«fl/ 187 

CCCLXXX. Acknowledging a present of a cask of sugar . . 197 



CCCLXXXI. Discussing the terms upon which she should offer 

\^^x Journal to a publisher 199 

CCCLXXXIII. Thanks for R.'s courtesies; the memorial to 
Aloys Reding 202 

CCCLXXXII. Inclosing a poem ; the Coleridges ; a new chapel 201 





CCCLXXXIV. An appointment for a visit to the Q.'s .... 203 


CCCLXXXV. Acknowledging a medallion of Scott .... 204 

CCCLXXXVIII. Biists of Scott and Southey ; hopes Chantrey 
will undertake both Southey and Coleridge ; reasons for expect- 
ing the spread of his poetry ; Scotch and English Border poets 207 


CCCLXXXVI. Starting upon a tour in Flanders and Holland ; 

a visit at Lee Priory 204 

CCCLXXXVII. A day ride with William from Lowther Castle 207 


CCCLXXXIX. Byron's indebtedness to other poets; **one 
impudent instance of his thefts''; parallelisms 211 


CCCXC. Replies to criticism of Laodamia ; the political situa- 
tion ; Southey and his family ; Dante; the Hares . . .-. .214 
CCCCI. " To thank you for your admirable Dialogues "... 235 

CCCXCI. Can only write verse from an inward impulse . . .217 

CCCXCIL A call upon R.'s brother; "Mrs. Luff's living stock" 217 
CCCXCIX. Two sonnets upon infants ; messages for Lamb . 231 
CCCCII. " Poor Monkhouse's hopeless state " ; affairs at Rydal 

Mount and at Keswick ; John home from Oxford 236 

CCCCIII. A visit to Cambridge 239 

CCCXCIII. A visit to Borrowdale with William and Mrs. Luff; 
Sara Coleridge ; Southey 218 

• • 



CCCXCIV. A three weeks' ramble in North Wales with 
Mrs. Wordsworth and Dora 220 


CCCXC V. Wordsworth and Mary still traveling ; " my nephew 

William "; Hartley Coleridge's school 225 

CCCXC VIII. The travelers returned ; " our friends at Kes- 
wick " ; Hartley Coleridge as schoolmaster 230 


CCCXC VI. Comment upon a volume of W.'s poetry ; ** a cri- 
tique upon my poetical character " 227 

CCCXCVII. Sends two books of his translation of the j^lneid 229 


CCCC. The purchase of Dora's field ; hopes that John may 
take orders 232 



CCCCIV. The scenery of North Wales 240 

CCCC VII. The Dutch school of painting ; F.'s writings . . . 244 
CCCCIX. Praises F.'s tragedies; other writings of F.; "your 
meaning upon the picturesque" 248 

CCCC V. A ramble through North Wales ; Southey's attitude 

toward Lord Byron ; Lord B. and his Boswell 242 

CCCCVL A possible arrangement of his miscellaneous poems 243 
CCCCVIII. ** Authors above booksellers " ; Murray and Long- 
mans as publbhers ; arrangement of the forthcoming collected 
edition of Poems 246 


CCCCX. The death of Monkhouse ; his estate ; the new edition 
of Wordsworth's Poems 251 


CCCCXV. Wordsworth considering a change of publisher; 
plans for future travel abroad ; Charles Lamb ; Mimoires of 

Mme. de Genlis 260 

CCCCXXII. Desires information on Mary Lamb*s illness; a 
bargain made with Hurst for the new edition of Poems . . 269 
CCCCXXIII. Messages from Wordsworth ; a visit at Coleor- 
ton by William, Mary, and Sarah Hutchinson ; Miss Jewsbury ; 
longings for travel 271 


CCCCXI. " An unusual event, a letter from Coleridge " ; Sara 
Coleridge's translation of Bayard's life 254 


CCCCXII. Comments upon the marriage of Sir G.'s son; 
*'your kind offer of assistance" ; "the religion of gratitude" 256 


CCCCXIII. Comment upon the Parliamentary situation on 

the Catholic question 258 

CCCCXIV. Mr. Brougham's arguments for the founding of 
London University 259 


CCCCXVL Discusses a proposed publisher's contract; Miss 

Jewsbury's Phantasmagoria . 264 

CCCCXVII. " I do not wish to dispose of my copyright " . . 265 

CCCCXVIII. Negotiations with Longmans . 265 

CCCCXIX. Introducing Mr. Quillinan ; net profits from poems 266 
CCCCXXI. Further negotiations with Longmans 268 


CCCCXX. A possible elegiac poem 267 

CCCCXXIV. Rumors of being obliged to quit Rydal Mount 275 


CCCCXXV. Requests information as to the status of negotia- 
tions with Hurst 276 


1826 p^^. 


CCCCXXVI. Refusing his permission to sue for Dora*s hand 278 


CCCCXXVII. " My cordial thanks for the care you have taken 

of my interests " 279 

CCCCXXXV. Regarding contributions for W.*s Souvenir . , 291 


CCCCXXVIII. Returns thanks to Mrs. Collier for the memo- 
rials of her tour; a young friend's journal; Miss Jewsbury; 
the new edition of Poems delayed by Hurst's insolvency . . . 280 
CCCCXL. R.'s travels in Ireland; Daniel O'Connell; John 
graduates from Oxford ; the war ; the Lambs ; the new edition 297 


CCCCXXXI. On the arrangement and classification of poems 284 

CCCCXXXII. Changes in classification of poems 285 

CCCCXXXIII. An account of his negotiations for the publica- 
tion of the new edition ; " one word on the subject of arrange- 
ment"; suggestions for travel 285 

CCCCXXXIV. Further instructions regarding the new edition ; 

bankruptcy of Mrs. Wordsworth's brother 289 

CCCCXXXVI. Travel directions for a tour of Wales and Ireland 291 

CCCCXXIX. Requesting a copy of a sonnet 283 

CCCCXXX. Returning thanks for a book 283 


CCCCXXXVII. "Good tidings respecting Mrs. De Q. and 
your family " ; De Q.'s employment ; Dora's illness .... 293 

CCCCXXXVIII. An expression of sympathy for misfortune 2^ 


CCCCXXXIX. Complimentary comment on M.'s poems . . 296 



CCCCXLI. Requests his support for John Kenyon's admis- 
sion to the Athenaeum Club; Longman undertakes the new 
edition of Poems ; News of Christopher Wordsworth .... 300 
CCCCXLIII. Dora Wordsworth*s illness; a letter from Lamb 303 
CCCCXLIV. Acknowledges R.*s courtesy to Kenyon; John 
studying divinity; death of Sir George Beaumont 304 


CCCCXLII. An account of his previous negotiations with John 
Murray 302 

CCCCXLV. Acknowledges receipt of M.'s edition of Byron . 306 

CCCCXLVI. Mountain scenery of Europe ; " La belle France " 307 


CCCCXLVIL Good news from " Idle Mount " ; about to travel 
with Dora ; visits to the Southeys ; Christopher Wordsworth's 
sons ; the bishop of Chester a neighbor 308 

CCCCXLVIII. A criticism of H.*s poetry; Miss H.'s verse . 312 


CCCCXLIX. His opposition to the Reform Bill 314 

CCCCL. An American article upon the Reform Bill . . . .315 
CCCCLL The defects of the amended Reform Bill 316 


CCCCLII. An invitation to Brinsop Court ; a postscript to his 
nephew Christopher 317 


1828 P^^B 


CCCCLIII. Suggestions as to their visits ; contributions to The 
Keepsake; some recent verses; \to Dora\ his attitude toward 
Mr. Quillinan's proposal ; '* my blessing upon you and him " .319 


CCCCLIV. Ordering casts of Chantrey*s bust ; a proposed 

volume of selections 323 

CCCCLVI. Regarding contributions to public journals and 

"Annuals" 325 

CCCCLVII. The remuneration for contributions to "Annuals" 326 
CCCCLX. Comments on the proposed selections ; inability to 
contribute to the " Annual " ; an alteration for Simon Lee . . 329 

CCCCLXVIII. Ordering a bust for Barron Field 352 

CCCCLXXII. The reasons preventing a contribution to C.*s 

♦* Annual" 356 


CCCCLV. Replying to T.'s exhortation urging a tribute to the 
memory of Sir George Beaumont 324 


CCCCLVIII. Hopes to ascend Helvellyn with P.; requests him 

to bring her /ourna/ of the Scotch tour 327 

CCCCLIX. An appointment for climbing Helvellyn .... 328 


CCCCLXI. The Pyrenees ; plans for his son William ; a 
cordial invitation 330 


CCCCLXII. Desires " a letter of chit-chat " ; her hopes of 
foreign travel . 332 


CCCCLXIII. The danger of concession upon the Catholic 
question 335 



CCCCLXIV. Views on the subject of edacatioii 537 

CCCCLXV. Fnither mhiiitfa oo the subject of edacatioii . . 340 


CCCCLXVL R^;ardmg contiibation to The Keefsait ; •^a 
scrape with Alaiic Watts " 349 


CCCCLXVII. Tht Triad; the history of an epitaph ; desires 
a story for ** a short India piece " 351 

CCCCLXIX. The living of Moresby bestowed upon John 
Wordsworth by Lord Lonsdale; his ordination ...... 353 

CCCCLXX. " literature considered merely as a creation of art ** 354 

CCCCLXXL His toor on the Rhine and in the Netherlands ; 
the education of his son William 355 



CCCCLXXIII. The forgeries in Bell's edition of Collins; 

Dyer ; Thomson 358 

CCCCXCV. Acknowledging a gift of D.*s edition of Peele's 
works ; D's Specimens from the British Poetesses ; " my intended 
edition of a portion of Thomson " 392 


CCCCLXXIV. Regarding material for poems 359 

CCCCLXXXVL His pleasure at F.*s transfer to Gibraltar . 381 


CCCCLXXV. Pleased with a drawing by Edmund Field . . 360 
CCCCLXXVIIL "More work and less pay" 365 

• • • 



CCCCLXXVI. Reply to a request for verses; The Malvern 
Hills; the Southeys ; Coleridge and his son Hartley 360 


CCCCLXXVII. The death of two school-fellows ; a legacy 
for Mrs. Wordsworth and its investment in insurance ; John 

Wilson's writings ; Southey's Sir Thomas More 362 

CCCCLXXXI. His desire to see Norway; discusses an invest- 
ment ; Dorothy's illness ; John Thomas Smith 369 

CCCCLXXXIV. An investment; an opinion upon American 
securities 377 

^^CCCCLXXIX. Ossian*s Poems ; his debt to Macpherson . . 365 

CCCCLXXX. The wretched condition of Ireland ; its causes . 366 


CCCCLXXXII. Interest in R.'s journey to the Pyrenees; 
young Christopher Wordsworth's honors at college ; good ac- 
counts from Rydal 372 

CCCCLXXXIII. Her recent illness; her nephew William . . 375 


CCCCLXXXV. Upon the death of his friend, Lady Beaumont 379 
CCCCXCVI. Delayed in a proposed visit to Coleorton . . . 393 


I CCCCLXXXVII. Desires information for a tour in Ireland; 

! H.'s verses and those of Miss Hamilton . . . . - 381 

CCCCLXXXIX. Accepting an offer of hospitality 384 

CCCCXC. Plans for his tour in Ireland 385 

CCCCXCVIIL Criticism of verses of Sir W. and Miss Hamilton 397 

1 Son of the artist. 



CCCCLXXXVIII. His dependence upon travel; bad treat- 
ment by the editor of an "Annual'' 383 

CCCCXCI. Desires particulars of a proposal for investment . 386 


CCCCXCII. An account of his tour in Ireland 386 

CCCCXCIV. A trip to Killamey 390 

CCCCXCIII. Sara Coleridge's marriage ; Derwent's curacy . 389 


CCCCXCVII. **A history of our proceedings since you left 
us " ; a visit from Hartley Coleridge 394 



CCCCXCIX. The ruins of Askeaton Abbey; Killamey . . . 401 

D. An acknowledgment of Mrs. G.'s poems with criticisms . 402 



DI. " I liked your play marvelously " ; " Hone's book was very 
r* yf"^ acceptable " ; a postscript by Dorothy 405 

DII. ** One point of prime importance in this crisis " .... 407 


Dili. Interested by information gathered from the gypsies . . 407 
DXII. " Mr. Coleridge's new work " ; The Hedgehog .... 425 
DXVIII. " We should be glad to see you at any time "... 434 



DIV. Conveying thanks for books and commending M.*s edi- 
tion of Bacon 408 


DV. The Paris pirated edition of his Poems ; his attitude toward 

a cheaper English edition 409 

DXIV. Discussion of a cheap edition ; the copyright laws . . 429 

DXIX. Desires a pair of spectacles purchased 435 


DVI. «* Delicious summer weather " ; Edward Quillinan ; "drain- 
ing a bit of spongy ground " 410 

BXI. Comments upon the revolutionary crisis in France . . . 424 
DXXV. The political situation in France 442 


DVII. "A sober review of the autumn and winter"; John*s 
life at Moresby ; " enacting the invalid " ; William as active as 
in 1820; the Coleridges ; young William at Bremen . . . .411 


DVIII. Positive instruction much overrated; "the education 
oiduty'* 416 


DIX. William " as good a walker as young ones of twenty " ; 
Mrs. Coleridge living with Derwent ; " Hartley's hopeless state '* 417 


DX. The poetic genius of England in her drama ; The Excur- 
sion; a word about Collins ; *< British poetesses'' ; the poems of 

Lady Winchelsea 419 

DXIII. A few additional words on British poetesses .... 426 


DXV. Requests information as to the advisability of a cheap 
edition of the Poems 432 




DXVI. A criticism of Peveril by a descendant of one of its 
characters 432 


DXVII. An invitation ; a message to Mr. Edgeworth .... 434 

DXX. The hospitality of the Lake district 436 

DXXI. Professor Wilson at EUeray ; the death of Hazlitt . . 436 
DXXIV. A journey to Cambridge on horseback ; intellectual 
activities there ; the Tennyson brothers 440 

DXXII. Criticisms upon certain verses of Mr. H 437 

DXXIII. " I am not a critic " ; comments upon a poem . . . 439 



DXX VI. An article on the decay of science in England ; Cole- 
ridge's broken condition . 443 

XXX. Cambridge professors and politics ; Dr. Hine's Selections 446 
DXLIII. The eagle's note; "something of Sir Walter"; 

Yarrow Revisited 466 

DXLV. The composition of verse ; Shakespeare's sonnets ; 

one word upon reform in Parliament " 470 


DXXVII. Dr. Arnold and his family sojourning near by . . . 444 

DXXVIII. Congratulations on the birth of a second son . . 444 


DXXIX. A volume of selections; Leigh Hunt "a coxcomb" 445 
DXXXIV. His aversion to appearing in periodicals 450 




DXXXI. St. John's College requests Wordsworth to sit for a 
portrait ; her dislike of Haydon's sketch 446 


DXXXII. A sonnet *< piping hot from the brain " ; a caricature 
of Brougham ; Napoleon ; the ** reformers '* in England . . . 447 


DXXXIII. John Wordsworth's engagement to Miss Curwen 449 
DXXXVII. Announcing Charles Wordsworth's approaching 
visit to Abbotsford ^ 457 


DXXXV. Wilkins' portrait of Wordsworth; a visit to Belle 
Isle; William, Dora, and Charles Wordsworth to visit Scott; 
an appointment for young William; Robert Jones; the Till- 
brooks ; Thomas Wilkinson 450 


DXXXVT. William and Mary Howitt ; going to Abbotsford ; a 

brilliant summer ; " a serious stanza or two " 454 

DLL Promises a visit; dining with an earl and a prince; "I 
congratulate you on being ^//radicalized " 481 


DXXXVIII. The Wordsworths' tour in Scotland ; family news 457 


DXXXIX. His " visit to the other hemisphere " delayed ; plans 

to visit Rydal Mount ; comment on the political situation . . 459 

DXL. A new horse ; the visit to Abbotsford 461 

DXLI. M.'s edition of Bacon ; on capital punishment ; " the 
odium attached to Bacon's name "; ^*1 am as much Peter Bell 
as ever " 463 

1 Son of Christopher Wordsworth. 



DXLIX. A gloomy outlook on public affairs; the education 
needed ..... 479 


DXLII. Her tour in the Highlands; Wordsworth depressed 

by the evil which he foresees from the Reform Bill 464 


DLXI V. " My late ramble in Scotland " ; " as to public affairs I 
have no hope but in the goodness of Almighty God " . . . . 468 


DXLVI. Hopes for a visit from R.; "the dreadful results of 
sudden and rash changes " ; the Reform Bill ; news of the family 47 1 


DXLVII. " I am opposed to the spirit you justly characterize 

as revolutionary " ; the question is one of piety and morals . 475 


DXL.W111, A list of grrata; nine's Sf/ecfions 478 

DL. " Moving about a good deal*'; Mr. Rose ; Laodamia . . 480 


DLII. A collection of Hogarth ; the poems of Baillie . . . 483 


DLIII. Opinion on Lord Holland's proposal for compromise 485 
DLIV. Discusses the political situation and the Reform bill 488 
DLVI. His translation from the yEneid 494 


DLV. On request sends specimen of translation from the yEtutd 494 

DLVI I. Sees principles sacrificed daily in public affairs . . . 495 



DLVIII. A copy of The Souvenir for 1832; "a sonnet for 
your next volume " 496 

DLIX. New edition of Poems to be four volumes 497 


DLX. Dorothy's illness ; the bourse of public affairs ; " my 
heart is full " ; a visit from Landor 497 


DLXI. Collection of pictures in his neighborhood ; Landor's 
visit; climbing Helvellyn 499 

DLXII. PickersgilPs portrait of Wordsworth 501 

BLXIII. Dr. A. purchases the Fox How estate 502 

/^LXIV. The death of Scott ; the Pickersgill portrait . . .502 


DLXV. In Dorothy's sick chamber ; a visit to Ullswater ; 
Hartley Coleridge 504 

DLXVI. Much troubled by the state of public affairs . . . 506 

DLXVII. Acknowledges a g^t for Dora ; Miss Jewsbury . . 507 

DLXVII I. Advice as to travel on the continent 509 




William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Grasmere, Feb. 6, 1812. 

... I need scarcely say. that literature has been the 
pursuit of my life ; a life-pursuit, chosen (as I believe are 
those of most men distinguished by any particular fea- 
tures of character) partly from passionate liking, and 
partly from calculations of the judgment ; and in some 
small degree from circumstances in which my youth was 
placed, that threw great difficulties in the way of my 
adopting that profession to which I was most inclined, and 
for which I was perhaps best qualified. I long hoped, 
depending upon my moderate desires, that the profits of 
my literary labours, added to the little which I possessed, 
would have answered all the rational wants of myself and 
my family. But in this I have been disappointed, and 
for these causes : firstly, the unexpected pressure of the 
times, falling most heavily upon men who have no regu- 
lar means of increasing their income in proportion ; sec- 
ondly, I had erroneously calculated upon the degree in 


which my writings were likely to suit the taste of the 
times; and lastly, much the most important part of my 
efforts cannot meet the public eye for many years, from 
the comprehensiveness of the subject. I may also add 
(but it is scarcely worth while) a fourth reason, viz. : an 
utter inability on my part to associate with any class or 
body of literary men, and thus subject myself to the 
necessity of sacrificing my own judgment, and of lending 
even indirectly countenance or support to principles, — 
either of taste, politics, morals, or religion — which I dis- 
approve; and your lordship is not ignorant that, except 
writers engaged in mere drudgery, there are scarcely any 
authors, but those associated in this manner, who find 
literature, at this day, an employment attended with 
pecuniary gain. 

The statement of these facts has been made, as your 
lordship will probably have anticipated, in order that if 
any office should be at your disposal (the duties of which 
would not call so largely upon my exertions as to prevent 
me from giving a considerable portion of time to study), 
it might be in your lordship's power to place me in a sit- 
uation where, with better hope of success, I might advance 
towards the main object of my life, I mean the completion 
of my literary undertakings ; and thereby contribute to 
the innocent gratification, and perhaps the solid benefit of 
many of my countrymen. 

I have been emboldened to make this statement from 
a remembrance that my family has for several generations 
been honoured by the regard of that of your lordship, 
and that, in particular, my father and grandfather did, 
conscientiously I believe, discharge such trusts as were 
reposed in them from that connection. 


William Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Grosvenor Square, Tuesday, May 6th. 

^y dear Friend, 

... I came to Town with a determination to confront 
Coleridge and Montagu upon this vile business. But 
Doleridge is most averse to it ; and from the difficulty of 
)rociu:ing a fit person to act as referee in such a case, 
md from the hostility which M. and C. feel towards each 
)ther, I have yielded to C.'s wish, being persuaded that 
much more harm than good would accrue from the inter- 
\aew. I have not seen C, nor written to him. Lamb has 
been the medium of communication between us. C. 
intimated to me by a letter addressed to Lamb that he 
would transmit to me a statement, begun some time ago, 
in order to be sent to Miss Hutchinson, but discontinued 
on account of his having heard that she had "already 
dtcided against him." A very delicate proposal! Upon 
this I told Lamb that I should feel somewhat degraded 
by consenting to read a paper, begun with such an inten- 
tion and discontinued upon such a consideration. Why 
talk about " deciding " in the case ? Why, if in this deci- 
sion she had judged amiss, not send the paper to rectify her 
error ? or why draw out a paper at all whose object it was 
to win from the sister of my wife an opinion in his favour, 
and therefore to my prejudice, upon a charge of injuries^ 
grievous injuries, done by me to him; before he had openly 
preferred his complaint to myself, the supposed author of 
these injuries ? All this is unmanly, to say the least of it. 

Upon coming home yesterday I found, however, a letter 
from him, a long one, written apparently and sent before 


he could learn my mind from Lamb upon this proposal. 
The letter I have not opened ; but I have just written to 
Lamb that if Coleridge will assure me that this letter 
contains nothing but a naked statement of what he believes 
Montagu said to him, I will read it and transmit it to 
Montagu, to see how their reports accord. And I will 
then give my own, stating what I believe myself to have 
said, under what circumstances I spoke, with what motive, 
and in what spirit. And there, I believe, the matter must 
end ; only I shall admonish Coleridge to be more careful 
how he makes written and public mention of injuries done 
by me to him. 

There is some dreadful foul play, and there are most 
atrocious falsehoods, in this business ; the bottom of 
which, I believe, I shall never find, nor do I much care 
about it. All I want is to bring the parties for once to 
a naked and deliberate statement upon the subject, in 
order that documents may exist, to be referred to as the 
best authority which the case will admit. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Finished at 12 o'clock Sunday Night, May 12th. 

My dear Friend, 

. . . I now take up the pen in the midst of a storm of 
thunder, lightning, and rain. It was preceded by the most 
awful darkness I ever beheld, and accompanied by every 
accident that could add to the grandeur of a thunder 
storm — the most vivid sunbeams intermingled with dark- 
ness, and a rain-bow, a perfect arch spanning the vale 
slantways. . . . 


We are become regular church-goers (we take it in 
turn !) for the sake of the children ; and indeed Mr. 
Johnson, our present curate, appears to be so much in 
earnest, and is so unassuming and amiable a man, that I 
think we should often go, even if we had not the children, 
who seem to make it a duty to us. . . . We have had two 
letters from Charles Lamb lately. His dear sister shews 
signs of amendment, but is yet far from well. Lamb's 
last letter was written to desire us to forward all Cole- 
ridge's manuscripts. He has sold all his works to Long- 
man (among the rest his tragedy) and they are to be 
published immediately. . . . You know that C. went to 
London with the Montagu's, and that their plan was to 
lodge him in their own house, and no doubt M. expected 
to have so much influence over him as to lead him into 
the way of following up his schemes with industry. 

Montagu himself is the most industrious creature in 
the world, rises early and works late, but his health is 
hy no means good, and when he goes from his labours 
rest of body and mind is absolutely necessary to him; 
and William perceived clearly that any interruption of his 
tranquillity would be a serious injury to him, and if to him 
consequently to his family. Further, he was convinced 
that if Coleridge took up his abode in M.'s house, they 
would soon part with mutual dissatisfaction ; Montagu 
being the last man in the world to tolerate in another person 
(and that person an inmate with him) habits utterly dis- 
cordant with his own. Convinced of these truths, William 
used many arguments to persuade M. that his purpose of 
keeping Coleridge comfortable could not be answered 
by their being in the same house together, but in vain. 
Nf ontagu was resolved, " He would do all that could be 
lone for him, and would have him at his house." 


After this William spoke out, and told M. the nature'^^o 
C.'s habits (nothing in fact but what everybody in whos^ 
house he has been for two days has seen for themselves), 
and Montagu then perceived that it would be better for 
C. to have lodgings near him. William intended to give 
C. advice to the same effect, but he had no opportunity 
of talking with him when C. passed through Grasmere 
on his way to London. Soon after they got to London 
Montagu wrote to William that oii their road he had seen 
so much of C.'s habits that he was convinced he should 
be miserable under the same roof with him ; and that he 
had repeated to C. what William had said to him, and 
that C. had been very angry. Now what could be so 
absurd as M.'s bringing forward William's communica- 
tions as his reason for not wishing to have C. in the house 
with him, when he had himself, as he says, ** seen a con- 
firmation of all that William had said " in the very short 
time that they were together. So, however, he did, and 
William contented himself with telling M. that he thought 
he had done unwisely, and he gave him his reasons for 
thinking so. 

We heard no more of this, or of C. in any way, except 
soon after his arrival in town, from Mrs. Montagu that 
he was well in health, powdered, etc., and talked of being 
busy; from Lamb, that he was in "good spirits and 
resolved to be orderly " ; and from other quarters, to the 
like effect. But in a letter written by poor dear Mary 
Lamb, a few days before her last confinement, she says 
she "knows there is coolness between my brother and 
C." In consequence of this, I told her what had passed 
between M. and W., and assured her of the truth that 
there was no coolness on William's part. I of course 
received no answer to this letter, for she was taken away 


efore it reached London ; and we heard no more of the 
matter till the other day, when Mrs. C. received a letter 
from Coleridge about this MS. in which he says — as an 
excuse for having written to no one, and having done 
nothing — that he had endured a series of injuries during 
the first month of his stay in London; but I will give 
you his own words, as reported to us by Mrs. C. She 
says, " He writes as one who had been cruelly injured." 
He says, " If you knew in detail of my most unprovoked 
sufferings for the first month after I left Keswick, and 
with what a thunderclap that part came upon me which 
gave the whole power of the anguish to all the rest, you 
would pity, you would less wonder at my conduct, or 
rather at my suspension of all conduct. You would know 
in short that a frenzy of the heart should produce some 
of the effects of a derangement of the brain,** etc. 

I suppose there is a good deal more of this, but she 
says he mentions no names except Mr. and Mrs. Mor- 
gan's. He says, "I leave it to Mrs. Morgan to inform 
you of my health and habits,** adding that " to hers and 
her husband*s kindness he owes it that he is now in his 
senses — in short, that he is alive ^ I must own that at 
first when I read all this my soul burned with indignation, 
that William should thus (by implication) be charged 
with having caused derangement in his friend's mind. 
A pretty story to be told. " Coleridge has been driven 
to madness by Wordsworth's cruel or unjust conduct 
towards him ! ** Would not anybody suppose that he 
had been guilty of the most atrocious treachery or cruelty ? 
But what is the sum of all he did 1 He privately warned 
a common friend, disposed to serve C, with all his might, 
that C. had one or two habits which might disturb his 
tranquillity. He told him what those habits were, and a 


greater kindness could hardly have been done to C^ for 
it is not fit that he should go into houses where he is not 
already known. If he were to be told what was said at 
Penrith, after be had been at Anthony Harrison's, that 
he mig^ be thankful to William. I am sure we suffered 
enough on that account, and were anxious enough to get 
him away. I say that at the first I was stung with indig- 
nation, but that soon subsided, and I was lost in pity for 
his miserable weakness. 

It is certainly very unfortunate for William that he 
should be the person on whom he has to charge his 
n^^ect of duty, but to Coleridge the difference is noth- 
ing, iat if this had not h^pened there would have been 
somebody else on whom to cast the blame. William 
wrote to Mrs. C. inunediately, and wished her to tran- 
scribe his letter, or parts of it, for C, and told her that he 
would not write to C. himself as he had not communi- 
cated his displeasure to him. Mrs. C. replies that she is 
afraid to do this, as C. did not desire her to inform us, and 
that it may prevent him from opening letters in future, 
etc. I ought to have told you that C. had a violent 
quarrel with Carlyle. ... 


William Wordsworth to Mrs. Clarkson 

Grosvenor Square, Thursday, June 4th. 

My dear Friend, 

... I shall tell you all that has passed between Cole- 
ridge and me. Upon the whole he appears more comfort- 
able, and seems to manage himself much better than when 
he was at Grasmere. I have seen him several times, but 


not much alone ; one morning we had, however, a pleas- 
ant walk to Hampstead together. I shall not advert in 
the hearing of anybody to what you communicate, in your 
last, concerning him. He certainly could not wish to 
wound you ; he is sensible that he has used you ill, and I 
fear dislikes to encoimter disagreeable sensations, a dislike 
which augments in proportion as it is his duty to face 
them. These are the regulators and governors of his 
actions, to a degree that is pitiable and deplorable. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Thomas De Quincey 

[Postmark, 181 2.] 
My dear Friend, 

I am grieved to the heart when I write to you, but 
you must bear the sad tidings. Our sweet little Catherine 
was seized with convulsions on Wednesday night. The 
fits continued till the morning, when she breathed her 
last. She had been in perfect health, and looked unusu- 
ally well. Her leg and arm had gained strength, and we 
were full of hope. In short, we had sent the most 
delightful accounts to her poor mother. It is a great 
addition to our affliction that her father and mother were 
not here to see her in the last happy weeks of her short 
life. She never forgot Quincey. Dear innocent, she now 
lies upon her mother's bed, a perfect image of peace. 
This to me was a soothing spectacle after having beheld 
her struggles. It is an unspeakable consolation to us 
that we are assured that no foresight could have pre- 
vented the disease in this last instance ; and that it was 
not occasioned by any negligence, or improper food. 


The disease lay in the brain, and if it had been possible 
for her to recover, it is much to be feared that she would 
not have retained the faculties of her mind. God bless 

^ ' Yours affectionately, ^ ,,, 

^ D. Wordsworth. 

We have written to my brother, and he will proceed 
immediately into Wales to impart the sad intelligence to 
my sister. You will be pleased to hear that Mary Daw- 
son has been very kind in her attentions to us. John 
has been greatly afflicted, but he has begun to admit 
consolation. The funeral will be on Monday afternoon. 
I wish you had been here to follow your darling to her 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[Kendal, July 31, 181 2.] 
My dearest Friend, 

... It was a warm and beautiful day, and I sat upon 
the stones close to the water at the end of the walk, — a 
long long time. The trees near the house ^ are very much 
grown, and the walks are perfectly shady; but the axe 
ought to have been used amongst them long ago. I fear 
that it is now so late that the trees will never forget their 
early confinement, and perhaps in general it would be 
better to leave them as they are. Your hops remain 
and the Virgin's bower ; but only one half of the porch 
is covered, that nearest to Wood-side. . . . We spent 
Tuesday afternoon in a walk to Hackett. . . . We had 

1 Probably Eusemere. — Ed. 


a very pleasant afternoon. Tillbrook stationed himself 
upon a rock, and sounded his flute to the great delight of 
our own party.^ ... 

William Wordsworth to Daniel Stuart 

Grasmere, October 13, 181 2. 
My dear Sir, 

I ought to have thanked you long since for the trouble 
you took, at my request, concerning the French prisoners. 
In consequence of your representation, I declined inter- 
fering any further in the business. I wish now to trouble 
you about a matter concerning myself, presuming upon 
the kindness which you have always shown me. 

Our powerful neighbour. Lord Lonsdale, has lately 
shown a particular wish to serve me, having most kindly 
given me an assurance that he will use his influence to 
procure for me any situation which falls within the range 
of his patronage, the salary of which would be an object 
to me, and the duties not so heavy as to engross too much 
of my time. His Lordship was so good as to express a 
regret that some time might elapse before such a place 
might become vacant, and he added that, if I knew of 
anything, though not within the circle of his immediate 
influence, he would be happy to exert himself in my behalf, 
if he were persuaded there were any chance of success. 

. . . Will you then be so kind as to point out to' me 
anything which is likely to answer my purpose that may 
come to your knowledge ? . . . I have no objection, I may 

iThe Rev. Samuel Tilbrooke, of Peterhouse, Cambridge, who 
had settled at Ivy cottage, Rydal. He is referred to in the sonnet 
beginning, " The fairest, brightest hues of ether fade.** — Ed. 


add, to quit this part of the country, provided the salary be 
adequate, and the duty what I am equal to without being 
under the necessity of withdrawing myself wholly from 
literature, which I find an unprofitable concern. ... 
With great regard, ^ 

W. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 


... I am glad to think that you will see Coleridge. 
Poor soul ! I only think of him now with my wonted affec- 
tion, and with tender feelings of compassion for his infirmi- 
ties. We have had several letters from him. Our sorrow 
has sunk into him, and he loved the darling the best of all 
our little ones. He talks of coming down as soon as pos- 
sible, if his play succeeds. I hope it will, and then I am con- 
fident he will come. Mrs. C. is just the same as ever, full 
of troubles — one wiping away the other — full of bustle, 
and full of complaints, yet not against him. There is one 
comfort that nothing hurts her ; otherwise it would be very 
painful to think of her, for cause enough she has had for 
complaint. . . . 


William Wordsworth to Thomas De Quincey 

Tuesday Evening, [December i, 181 2.] 

My very dear Friend, 

We have had measles in the house, and I write under 
great affliction. Thomas was seized a few days ago, i.e., 
last Thursday. He was held most favourably till eleven 



this morning, when a change suddenly took place ; and, 

with sorrow of heart I write, he died, sweet innocent, 

about six this afternoon. His sufferings were short, and 

I think not severe. Pray come to us as soon as you can. 

My sister is not at home. Mrs. Wordsworth bears her loss 

with striking fortitude, and Miss Hutchinson is as well as 

can be expected. My sister will be here to-morrow. 

Most tenderly and truly, with heavy sorrow for you, my 

dear friend, I remain. 


W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Grasmere, Dec. 27, 181 2. 

. . . After mature consideration, I have resolved to 
trust to the first feelings excited by your letter; these 
were rather to owe any addition to my income required 
by me to your friendship than to the Government, or to 
any other quarter where it was not in my power to return 
what, in the common sentiments of men, would be deemed 
an equivalent. Asking permission therefore to retract my 
former determination, which I am encouraged to do by 
the personal intercourse, and marks of regard with which 
you have since distinguished me, and by the inscrutable 
delicacy of your last letter, I feel no scruple in saying 
that I shall with pride and pleasure accept annually the 
sum offered by your lordship until the office has become 
vacant, or some other change takes place in my circum- 
stances, which might render it unnecessary. I cannot 
forbear to add that I feel more satisfaction from this 
decision, because my opinions would not lead me to 


decline accepting a pension from Government on the 
ground that literary men make some sacrifice of inde- 
pendence by such acceptance, and are consequently 
degraded. The constitution gives to the crown this 
power of rewarding acknowledged ability, and it is not 
possible to imagine a more worthy employment of a 
certain portion of the revenue. But it seems to me that 
the provisions made by our Government for the support 
of literature are far too scanty, and in this respect our 
practice is much inferior to that of other countries, where 
talents of importance to mankind and to posterity — but 
which from that very cause can bring little emolument to 
the possessor of them, and which demand all the thought 
of all his life — are undoubtedly (where they are under- 
stood) fostered and honoured, even as a point of pride. 
This is the case in Germany, and in France. . . . Now, 
as to the general question, it may be laid down as unde- 
niable, that if to bestow be a duty (and an honourable 
duty), to accept cannot be otherwise than honourable, . . . 

William Wordsworth to Basil Montagu 

Ambleside, Sunday Night, Dec. 27, 181 2. 

. . . We have suffered as much anguish as it is possible 
to undergo in a like case, for he ^ was a child of heavenly 
disposition, meek, simple, innocent, unoffending, affec- 
tionate, tender-hearted, passionately fond of knowledge, 
ardent in the discharge of his duty, but in everything 
else mild and peaceful. I trust that Almighty God has 
received him amongst the number of the blessed. . . . 

1 His boy Thomas. — Ed. 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Elizabeth Threlkeld 

January 19th, 1813. 

You remember him,^ a lovely child, with a heavenly 
sweetness in his countenance which he preserved to the 
last, an innocence as pure as at the day of his birth. . . . 
Thomas was, of all the children, that one who caused 
us the least pain, and who gave us the purest delight. 
He was affectionate, sweet-tempered, ardent in the pur- 
suit of learning, invariably doing his duty without effort 
or interference on the part of others, and above all he had 
a simplicity which was his own, an infantine innoceno^ 
which marked him as not of this world. . . . 

[Of Rydal Mount, whither they were going, she said] 
It is the pleasantest residence in this neighbourhood, in 
perfect repair, comfortable and convenient, and is in the 
very situation which in the happiest of our days we chose 
as the most delightful in the country. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Marshall 

Jan. 24th, [1 8 1 3.] 

... I go on as usual with my daily pursuits, and I 
trust I do not repine at the loss of that beloved child, 

1 Her nephew. — Ed. 


who is returned whence he so lately came, as pure a spirit 
as ever was received into those regions. Untainted he 
remained in this world, and is now happy, and gone but 
a few years before us. So I feel, so I think of him ; yet 
my tears will flow, I cannot help it His very self is so 
vivid in my mind, it is like a perpetual presence. You 
know how I loved him when he was alive, how I prized 
his promising virtues. My heart is full of the sweet 
image of him whom I shall see no more. At times, when 
I muse on a future life and on his blessedness, I lose the 
thoughts of anguish. The child becomes spiritualized to 
my mind. I wish I could have such musings more fre- 
quently, and longer; but as long as I have breath, thy 
grave, beloved child, will be remembered by me with pen- 
sive sadness. ... At times I think my brother looks ten 
years older since the death of Thomas. I hope we shall 
not remain more than two months or ten weeks longer in 
this house ; and you must come and see us when we get 
^> the other.^ It is a place that, ten years ago, I should 
nave almost danced with joy if I could have dreamed it 
would ever be ours. . . . 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Marshall 

Rydal Mount, Thursday Morning, 1813. 

Arrived yesterday. The weather is delightful, and the 
place a paradise ; but my inner thoughts will go back to 
Grasmere. I was the last person who left the house yes- 
terday evening. It seemed as quiet as the grave ; and 

1 Rydal Mount. — Ed. 


the very church-yard, where our darlings lie, when I gave 
it a last look, seemed to cheer my thoughts. There I 
could think of life and immortality. The house only 
reminded me of desolate gloom, emptiness, and cheerless 
silence. But why do I now turn to these things ? The 
morning is bright, and I am more cheerful. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Thursday, April 8th, [1813.] 

. . . When we had been informed by a person to whom 
Nfr. North had said it, that he had nothing left in the 
douse ^ but a few bottles, William wrote a note requesting 
\fr. N.'s permission to enter upon the house ; and giving 
lis reasons in a very delicate manner, hinting plainly 
It the most important one, and we received an answer, 
x)uched in civil terms, to the following effect : that Mr. 
^. would be happy to accommodate Mr. W. as soon as 
le had got preparations made for the reception of at least 
line cart loads of goods which were yet in the house. Now 
hese goods are the wine in his cellars, and he has bins 
X) make for his wine at Ambleside. Would not any one 
but himself have requested permission to keep the wine 
locked up in the cellars, and have given the free use of 
the house which he no longer wanted himself? It is 
three weeks or more since the house was empty, and we 
iear nothing further, so we shall not remove till May 
lay. . . . 

But this leads me to the green graves in the corner of 
»ur church-yard (and let that ground be peaceful !) and I 

1 Rydal Mount. — Ed. 


feel now that my heart is going to struggle with unbefit- 
ting sorrow while I talk of resignation ; but I trust the 
time will^come when all the tears I shed shall be tears 
of hope and quiet tenderness. Yet if you had known 
Thomas, if you had seen him, if you had felt the hopes 
which his innocent, intelligent, eager, yet most innocent 
and heavenly, countenance raised in our hearts many a 
time when we silently looked upon him, you would won- 
der that we have been able to bear the loss of him as 
well as we have borne it ; but with a humbled spirit I 
must confess we have not been submitted as we ought to 
have been. 

I have laid down the pen for some minutes and I can 
write upon other matters less deeply interesting. Yet 
once more, blessings be on his grave — that turf which 
his pure feet so often have trod. 

My dear friend, as to Coleridge you have done all that 
can be done, and we are grieved that you have had so 
much uneasiness, and taken so much trouble about him. 
He will not let himself be served by others. Oh, that 
the day may ever come when he will serve himself ! 
Then will his eyes be opened, and he will see clearly that 
we have loved him always, do still love him, and have 
ever loved — not measuring his deserts. I do not now 
wish him to come into the North ; that is, I do not wish 
him to do it for the sake of any wish to gratify us. But 
if he should do it of himself I should be glad as the best 
sign that he was endeavouring to perform his duties. 
His conduct to you has been selfish and unfeeling in the 
extreme, which makes me hope no good of him at pres- 
ent, especially as I hear from all quarters so much of his 
confident announcement of plans for this musical drama, 
that comedy, the other essay. Let him doubt, and his 


powers will revive. Till then they must sleep. God 
bless him. He little knows with what tenderness we 
have lately thought of him, nor how entirely we are soft- 
ened to all sense of injury. We have had no thoughts of 
him but such as ought to have made him lean upon us 
with confidential love, and fear not to confess his weak- 

The boys come to us almost every week. Hartley is 
as odd as ever, and in the weak points of his character 
resembles his father very much ; but he is not prone to 
sensual indulgence — quite the contrary — and has not 
one expensive habit. Derwent is to me a much more 
interesting boy. He is very clever. I should wish him 
to be put in the way of some profession in which scientific 
knowledge would be useful ; for his mind takes that turn. 
He is uncommonly acute and accurate. WiUiam will 
now be enabled to assist in sending Hartley to college ; 
but of course this must not be mentioned ; for the best 
thing that can happen to his father will be that he should 
suppose that' the whole care of putting Hartley forward 
must fall upon himself. . . .^ 


William Wordsworth to Francis Wrangham 

Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, 
August 28th, 18 1 3. 
My dear Wrangham, 

Your letter arrived when I was upon the point of going 
from home on business. I took it with me, intending to 
answer it upon the road ; but I had not courage to under- 
take the office on account of the inquiries it contains 


concerning my family. I will be brief on this melancholy 
subject. In the course of the last year I have lost two 
sweet children, a girl and a boy, at the ages of four and 
six and a half. These innocents were the delight of our 
hearts, and beloved by everybody that knew them. They 
were cut oflF in a few hours — one by measles, and the 
other by convulsions — dying one half a year after the 
other. I quit this sorrowful subject, secure of your sym- 
pathy as a father and as my friend. 

I have transmitted the request in your letter to my 
brother, so that no doubt you will hear from him ; but 
this act of duty I have only discharged to-day, from want 
of fortitude. 

My employment ^ I find salutary to me, and of conse- 
quence in a pecuniary point of view; as my literary employ- 
ments bring me no emoluments, nor promise any. As to 
what you say about the Ministry, I very much prefer the 
course of their policy to that of the Opposition, especially 
on two points most near my heart, resistance of Buona- 
parte by force of arms, and their adherence to the princi- 
ples of the British Constitution in withholding political |- 
power from the Roman Catholics. My moist determined 
hostility shall always be directed against those statesmen, 
who — like Whitbread, Grenville, and others — would f- 
crouch to a sanguinary tyrant ; and I cannot act with 
those who see no danger to the Constitution in intro- 
ducing papists into Parliament. | 

There are other points of policy on which I deem the 
Opposition grievously mistaken ; and therefore I am at f 
present, and long have been by principle, a supporter of | 

the Ministry, as far as my little influence extends. I 

1 That of Distributor of Stamps for the County of Westmore- j 

land. — Ed. 




With aflEectionate wishes for your welfare and that of 
your family, and with best regards to Mrs. Wrangham, 

I am, my dear friend, 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[No date. 1813.] 

. . . But now I must tell you of our grandeur. We 
are going to have a Turkey carpet in the dining-room, 
and a Brussels in William's study. You stare, and the 
simplicity of the dear Town-End Cottage comes before 
your eyes, and you are tempted to say, "Are they changed, 
are they setting up for fine folks ? " No, no, you do not 
make such a guess ; but you want an explanation, and I 
must give it you. The Turkey carpet (it is a large room) 
will cost twenty-two guineas, and a Scotch carpet would 
cost nine or ten. The Turkey will last out four Scotch, 
therefore will be the cheaper, and will never be shabby. 

. . . The study is furnished with a large book-case, 
some chairs that we had at Allan Bank painted black, 
and Sir George Beaumont's pictures, and looks very neat. 
We have got window curtains for it, and a nice writing- 
table. . . . The house is very comfortable, and most con- 
venient, though far from being as good a house as we 
expected. We had never seen the inside of it till we came 
to live in it. We have three kitchens, one of which is 
called the deep kitchen. The grate is decked out by the 


kitchen maid with flourishing- green boughs, which are 
only displaced when this same kitchen is used as a laun- 
dry. At other times the clock lives there in perfect soli- 
tude, except that it has the company of two white tables 
and other appropriate furniture. . . . We are all garden- 
ers, especially Sarah, who is mistress and superintendent 
of that concern. I am contented to work under her, and 
Mary does her share, and sometimes we work very hard, 
and this is a great amusement to us, though sad thoughts 
often come between. 

Thomas was a darling in a garden, our best helper, 
steady to his work, always pleased. God bless his mem- 
ory. I see him wherever I turn, beautiful innocent 
that he was. He had a slow heavenly up-turning of his 
large blue eyes that is never to be forgotten. Would that 
you had seen him! But, my dear friend, why have I 
turned to this subject ? Because I write to you what 
comes uppermost, the pen following the heart, but no 
more. You must, indeed you must, come next year. I 
never talk of next year's plans, but I think of death. 
Come however you must, if you live, whether we are all 
alive or not. It is the place of all others for you, so dry 
that you need never have a wet foot after the heaviest 
shower ; and the prospect so various and beautiful that 
an invalid or a weakly person might be accused of dis- 
contentedness who should wish for anything else, or 
repine at not being able to go further than round our 
garden. . . . We have such a terrace for you to walk 
upon, and such a seat at the end of it. . . . 


William Wordsworth to Robert Southey 

[No date.] 

. . We want no pensions and reversions for our heirs, 
no monuments by public or private subscription. We 
f have a monument in our works^ if they survive. If 
do not, we should not deserve it. So with regard to 
ise from the dictum of the Privy Council, if our works 
e to be called for, the privilege would be but a 
kery, and an occasion of malignant sarcasm from the 
disposed. . . . 

Ever affectionately yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 




Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[Undated, written probably in January, 18 14.] 

My dearest Friend, 

... I feel that much of the knowledge which I had 
formerly gained from books has slipped from me, and it 
is grievous to think that hardly one new idea has come in 
by that " means." This in itself would be no great evil, but 
the sorrows of this life weaken the memory so much that 
I find reading of far less use than it used to be to me ; 
and if it were not that my feelings were as much alive as 
ever, there would be a growing tendency in the mind to 
barrenness. . . . 

Southey is in London. Perhaps that may bring Cole- 
ridge down. He ought to come down to see after Hart- 
ley, who wants removing to another school before he 
goes to college ; for his oddities increase daily, and he 
wants other discipline. But, because he ought to come, 
I fear he will not; and how is H. to be sent to col- 
lege? These perplexities no doubt glance across his 
mind like dreams, but nothing will rouse him to his duty 
as duty, . . • 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Rydal Mount, Feb. 9, 18 14. 

. . . Every one knows of what importance the eques- 
trian order was in preserving tranquillity and a balance 
and gradation of power in ancient Rome ; the like may 
take place among ourselves through the medium of an 
armed yeomanry ; and surely a preservative of this kind 
is largely called for by the tendencies of things at pres- 
ent ... If the whole island was covered with a force of 
this kind, the Press properly curbed, the Poor Laws grad- 
ually reformed, provision made for new Churches to keep 
pace with the population (an indispensable measure) if 
these things were done and other improvements carried 
forward as they have been, order may yet be preserved 
among us, and the people remain free and happy. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

April 22nd. 
My dear Friend, 

. . . The poem ^ is to be published. We females have 
been very anxious that it should, and for the reason you 
mentioned. Besides that we think it will sell, first, 
because we think that the story will bear it up, in spite 
of that spirit that is above the common level of the pres- 
ent state of public knowledge and taste ; and, secondly, 
because the buzz of the lectures will help it. Poor 

1 7^ White Doe of Rylstone,^YA, 


Coleridge ! he has indeed fought a good fight, and I hope 
he will not yield ; but come to us having accomplished a 
perfect victory. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Keswick, Sunday, April 24th, [18 14.] 

... I should have wished to be at home, for William 
is actually printing nine books of his long poem. It has 
been copied in my absence, and great alterations have 
been made some of which indeed I had an opportunity 
of seeing during my week's visit But the printing has 
since been going on briskly, and not one proof-sheet has 
yet met my eyes. We are all most thankful that William 
has brought his mind to consent to printing so much of 
this work ; for the MSS. were in such a state that, if it 
had pleased Heaven to take him from this world, they 
would have been almost useless. I do not think the 
book will be published before next winter ; but, at the 
same time, will come out a new edition of his poems in 
two volumes octavo,^ and shortly afterwards, Peter Bell^ 
The White Doe? and Benjamin the Waggoner,^ ... 

He is gone ; the darling who loved his books, and 
whom his father used to contemplate as the future com- 
panion of his studies.^ Why do I turn to these sad 

1 Published in 1815. — Ed. 

2 First published in 18 19. — Ed. 
8 First published in 181 5. — Ed. 
* First published in 18 19. — Ed. 

^ Thomas Wordsworth, who died at the parsonage in the previous 
year. — Ed. 


thoughts ! Oh ! my dearest friend, the pangs which the 
recollection of that heavenly child causes me it is hard 
to stifle ; and many a struggle have I had, — in all situa- 
tions, in company and alone, and when in converse as 
now with you, — but I trust there is no wickedness in 
this which is unavoidable. I am reconciled, and resigned, 
and cheerful, except when the struggle is upon me. His 
poor mother was shaken bitterly by Catherine's death 
and I fear she never will be the same cheerful creature 
as heretofore. When left to herself she is dejected, and 
often weeps bitterly ; but I must turn to other subjects. 
Willy is a dear child — exceptionally lively and very 
clever — but utterly averse to books ! This I think is 
entirely owing to his having been so much indulged. . . . 
To the last page I am come, and not a word of the 
Emperor Alexander, the King of France or the fallen 
Monarch ! Surely it must seem to us, encircled by these 
mountains, that our own little concerns outweigh the 
mighty joys and sorrows of nations ; or I could not have 
been so long silent. . . . He [Buonaparte] should have been 
tried for the murders of the Due d' Enghien,^ of Pichegru," 
of Captain Wright,* of Palm * — of one or all ; and what 
a pension they have granted him ! This is folly, rather 
than liberality ; for of what use can a large income be in 
an island without luxuries, and without company. He 
can have no wants beyond a bare maintenance. . . . 

1 L. A. H. de Bourbon, Due d* Enghien, executed by Buonaparte 
in 1804. — Ed. 

2 Charles Pichegrn (1761-1804). — Ed. 

« Captain John Wesley Wright (1769-1805). — Ed. 
* John Philip Palm, of Nuremberg, shot by Napoleon in 1806. — 


William Wordsworth to Francis Wrangham 

April 26, 18 14. 

... I am busy with the printers' devils. A portion of a 
long poem ^ from me will see the light ere long. I hope 
it will give you pleasure. It is serious, and has been written 
with great labour. . • • 


William Wordsworth to Thomas Poole 

Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, 
April 28th, 1 814. 
My dear Poole, 

I have long thought of writing to you upon the situation 
of Hartley Coleridge, and have only been prevented by con- 
siderations of delicacy towards his father, whose exertions 
on behalf of this child I hoped would have rendered any 
interference of the friends of the family unnecessary. But 
I cannot learn that poor Coleridge has mustered courage 
to look this matter fairly in the face ; it is therefore incum- 
bent on his friends to do their best to prevent the father's 
weaknesses being ruinous to the son. Hartley is now sev- 
enteen years and a half old ; and, therefore, no time is to 
be lost in determining upon his future course in life. 

Knowing your attachment to Coleridge and to his 
family, and that Coleridge is now residing at no great 
distance from you, I beg that you would contrive to see 
and converse with him upon this subject. I do not 
expect that Coleridge will be able to do anything himself, 

1 The Excursion, — Ed. 



but his consent will be indispensable before any of )iis 
friends can openly stir in exertions for Hartley. It is a 
subject on every side attended with difficulties ; for in 
the first place it is not easy to determine what the youth 
is fit for. His talents appear to be very considerable, 
but not of that kind which may be confidently relied upon 
as a security for an independence in any usual course of 
exertion. His attainments also, though in some depart- 
ments far exceeding the common measure of those of his 
age, are extremely irregular ; and he is deficient in much 
valuable knowledge both of books and things that might 
have been gained at a public school. But could he be 
immediately sent for one year to a school of this kind, I 
should be emboldened to hope somewhat confidently that 
such a preparation would enable him to go successfully 
through either of the Universities. 

It avails little to think or write much about this, till a 
fund has been secured for his maintenance till he can 
support himself, in whatever course of life may be de;ter- 
mined upon. Now, I know of nobody who has declared 
intentions to contribute to this but Lady Beaumont, who 
has most kindly offered to advance thirty pounds a year 
towards maintaining Hartley at the University. Southey 
has a little world dependent upon his industry ; and my 
own means are not more than my family requires ; but 
something I would willingly contribute, and if it were 
convenient to you to assist him in this way or any other, 
it would encourage one to make applications elsewhere. 
But in all this I defer to you, and wish to know what you 
advise, and most happy shall I be to join in anything 
you recommend. 

Having said all that appears necessary on this subject, 
I cannot but add to an old friend two or three words 


about mjrself, though you probably will have heard from 
others how I am going on. I live at present in a most 
delightful situation ; and have a public emplo3rment which 
is a comfortable addition to my income, but I pay ;£"ioo 
per annum out of it to my predecessor, and it falls nearly 
another loo below the value at which my noble patron — 
Lord Lonsdale — had been led to estimate it. 

My marriage has been as happy as man's could be, 
saving that we have lost two sweet children (out of five), 
a boy and girl of the several ages of six and a half and 
four years. This was a heavy affliction to us, as they 
were as amiable and promising creatures as a house could 
be blest with. My poetical labours have often suffered 
long interruptions ; but I have at last resolved to send to 
the press a portion of a poem which, if I live to finish it, 
I hope future times will " not willingly let die." These 
you know are the words of my great predecessor, and the 
depth of my feelings upon some subjects seems to justify 
me in the act of applying them to myself, while speaking 
to a friend, who I know has always been partial to me. 

When you write, speak of yourself and your family. I 
hear wonders of a niece of yours. May we not hope to 
see you here ? Let it not be during my absence. I shall 
be from home at least for six weeks during the ensuing 
summer, meaning to take a tour in Scotland with my wife 
and her sister. My sister joins in affectionate remem- 
brances to you ; and I shall say for my wife that she will 
be most happy to see you in this place, with which I ven- 
ture to promise that you will be much pleased. Believe 
me, my dear Poole, 

Most faithfully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers 

Rydal Mount, May 5, 181 4. 
My dear Sir, 

Some little time since, in consequence of a distressful 
representation made to me of the condition of some per- 
son connected nearly by marriage with Mrs. Wordsworth, 
I applied to our common friend Mr. Sharp to know if he 
had any means of procuring an admittance into Christ's 
Hospital, for a child of one of the parties. His reply was 
such as I feared it would be. . . . He referred me to 
you. ... I have to thank you for a present of your 
volume of poems, received some time since, through the 
hands of Southey. I have read it with great pleasure. 
The Columbus^ is what you intended. It has many 
bright and striking passages, and poems upon this plan 
please better on a second perusal than the first. The 
gaps ^ at first disappoint and vex you. 

There is a pretty piece in which you have done me the 
honour of imitating me towards the conclusion particularly, 
where you must have remembered the Highland Girl.'^ I 
like the poem much ; but the first paragraph is hurt by two 
apostrophes, to objects of different character, ©ne to Luss, 
and one to your sister, and the apostrophe is not a figure 
that like Janus carries two faces with a good grace. 

I am about to print (do not start) eight thousand lines, 
which is but a small portion of what I shall oppress the 

1 TTit Voyage of Columbus (181 2). — Ed. 

2 The " gaps " refer to the numerous starred lines (♦***) within 
the several cantos. — Ed. 

« The poem Written in the Highlands of Scotland, September 2, 
j8i2. — Ed. 


world with, if strength and life do not fail me. I shall 
be content if the publication pays the expenses ; for Mr. 
Scott, and your friend Lord Byron, flourishing at the rate 
they do, how can an honest poet hope to thrive ? 

I expect to hear of your taking flight to Paris, unless 
the convocation of emperors and other personages by 
which London is to be honoured, detain you to assist at 
the festivities. 

For me, I would like dearly to see old Blucher, but as 
the fates will not allow, I mean to recompense myself by 
an excursion with Mrs. Wordsworth to Scotland, where I 
hope to fall in occasionally with a ptarmigan, a roe, or an 
eagle ; and the living bird I certainly should prefer to its 
image on the panel of a dishonoured emperor's coach. 

Farewell. I shall be happy to see you here at all 
times, for your company is a treat. 

Most truly yours, „, „, 

■^ "^ W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

May 24, 18 1 4. 

. . • Unwilling that what I cannot but think the errors 
of the bullionists should be laid open, I wrote to Mr. 
Southey, begging his interest with the editor of the Q. R. 
to procure the reviewing of the pamphlets on this subject 
for Mr. De Quincey, editor of the Westmoreland Gazette, 
Mr. Southey wrote in reply, " I fear the Q. R. would be 
closed against De Q.'s opinions upon the Bullion ques- 
tion, as it is against mine on the Catholics^ (Mr. Southey 
is an enemy to further concessions.) " And indeed 



more certainly because some years ago it took the wrong 
side upon that subject; and consistency in a political 
error is the only kind of consistency to be expected in a 
journal of this kind. This I am sorry for, because if De 
Quincey could bring his reasonings before the public 
through a favourable channel I think he would go far 
towards exploding a mischievous error." From this 
extract it may be seen that these Reviews value above 
every tiling the keeping up the notion of their own myste- 
rious infallibility. It is probable that the Q. R. is closed 
against the opponents of the Catholic claims, in conse- 
quence of its having espoused the other side, through 
the influence of Mr. Canning over the editor. The great 
circulation of the two Reviews, The Quarterly and The 
Edinburgh^ has been very injurious to free discussion, by 
making it almost insurmountably difficult for any writer, 
not holding a public situation, to obtain a hearing, if his 
opinions should not suit either of these periodical publi- 
cations. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Viscount Lowther 

[No date ?] 

Do you suppose that Tierney is really sincere in his 
declaration that he adopts the positions of the Report of 
the Bullion Committee of which Horner was chairman? 
If he does, he has studied political economy to little 
purpose. For instance, what an assertion that gold had 
not risen in value, it was only that paper had fallen ! 
This is theory trampling upon fact ; upon a conse- 
quence arising from the state of Europe obvious, one 
would have thought, to a child. . . . 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs. Clarkson 

HiNDWELL, Radnor, 
Sunday Night, 9th October, [181 4.] 

. . . Hazlitt's review^ appeared in the Examiner. It 
is not half so good a review as I should have thought he 
would have written ; for, with all his disagreeable ' quali- 
ties, he is a very clever fellow. He says that the narra- 
tive parts of the poem are a dead weight* upon it; but 
speaks in raptures of the philosophical. Now we have 
no doubt that the narrative will be liked the best by most 
readers; therefore, we are most glad to hear that the 
religious and philosophical parts are relished. Of their 
merit I cannot entertain the faintest shadow of a doubt ; 
yet I am afraid that, for a time, an outcry will be raised 
by many readers and many reviewers, which may injure 
the sale. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Robert Pearce Gillies'^ 

Rydal Mount, Nov. 12, 18 14. 

You are a most indulgent and good-natured critic, or I 
think you would hardly have been so much pleased with 
Yarrow Visited, We think it heavier than my things 
generally are, and nothing but a wish to show to Mr. 
Hogg that my inclination towards him, and his proposed 

1 Of The Excursion, — Ed. 

2 The editor of the Foreign Quarterly Review^ and author of 
Memoirs of a Literary Veteran (1851). — Ed. 


work, were favourable, could have induced me to part 
with it in that state. I have composed three new stanzas 
in place of the three first, and another to be inserted 
before the two last, and have made some alterations in 
other parts ; therefore, when you see Mr. Hogg, beg from 
me that he will not print the poem till he has read the 
copy which I have added to Miss E. Wilson's MS., as I 
scarcely doubt, notwithstanding the bias of first impres- 
sions, that he will prefer it. t 

In the same MS. you will find a sonnet addressed to 
yourself,^ which I should have mentioned before, but for a 
reason of the same kind as kept you silent on the subject 
of yours. I am not a little concerned that you continue 
to suffer from morbid feelings, and still more that you 
regard them as incurable. . . . But this I can confidently 
say, that poetry and the poetic spirit will either help you, 
or harm you, as you use them. If you find in yourself 
more of the latter effect than of the former, forswear the 
Muses, and apply tooth and nail to law, to mathematics, 
to mechanics, to anything, only escape from your insidi- 
ous foe. But if you are benefited by your intercourse 
with the lyre, then give yourself up to it, with the enthu- 
siasm which I am sure is natural to you. I should like 
to be remembered to Mr. Lappenberg,^ to Mr. Hogg, and 
our friends in Queen Street, of course. Mr. Sharpe, I 
hope, does not forget me. Adieu, most faithfully, and 
with great respect. Yours, 

William Wordsworth. 

1 See the lines beginning, " From the dark chamber of dejection 
freed," in Vol. IV of Poetical Worksy Eversley edition, pp. 3, 4, and 
the accoropan3dng note on Gillies. — Ed. 

2 Mr. Lappenberg translated into German We are Seveuy To a 
Butterfly t and several others of Wordsworth's poems. — Ed. 


William Wordsworth to R. P. Gillies 

Rydal Mount, Nov. 23, 18 14. 
My dear Sir, 

... I have to thank you for Egbert, which is pleas- 
ingly and vigorously written, and proves that with a due 
sacrifice of exertion, you will be capable of performing 
things that will have a strong claim on the regards of 
posterity. But keep, I pray you, to the great models; 
there is in some parts of this tale — particularly page 
four — too much of a bad writer, Lord Byron ; and I will 
observe that towards the conclusion the intervention of 
the peasant is not only unnecessary, but injurious to 
the tale, inasmuch as it takes away from that species of 
credibility on which it rests. I have peeped into The 
Ruminator, and turned to your first letter, which is 
well executed, and seizes the attention very agreeably. 
Your longer poem I have barely looked into, but I 
promise myself no inconsiderable pleasure in the perusal 
of this. 

I thank you for The QueerCs Wake, Since I saw you in 
Edinburgh I have read it. It does Mr. Hogg great credit 
Of the tales, I liked best, much the best. The Witch of 
Fife, the former part of Kilmany, and the Abbot Mackin- 
non. Mr. Hogg himself, I remember, seemed most par- 
tial to Mary Scott, though he thought it too long. For 
my own part, though I always deem the opinion of an 
able writer upon his own works entitled to consideration, 
I cannot agree with Mr. Hogg in this preference. The 
story of Mary Scott appears to me extremely improbable, 
and not skilfully conducted ; besides, the style of the 


piece is often vicious. The intermediate parts of The 
Queen^s Wake are done with much spirit, but the style 
here, also, is often disfigured with false finery, and in too 
many places it recalls Mr. Scott to one's mind. Mr. 
Hogg has too much genius to require that support, how- 
ever respectable in itself. As to style, if I had an oppor- 
tunity I should like to converse with you thereupon. 
Such is your sensibility, and your power of mind, that I 
am sure I could induce you to abandon many favourite 
modes of speech ; for example, why should you write, 
"Where the lake gleams beneath the autumn sun," 
instead of "autumnal" — which is surely more natural 
and harmonious ? We say " summer sun," because we 
have no adjective termination for that season, but "vernal " 
and " autumnal " are both unexceptionable words. Miss 
Seward uses " hybemal," and I think it is to be regretted 
that the word is not familiar. But these discussions 
render a letter extremely dull. 

I sent the alterations of Yarrow Visited to Miss Hutch- 
inson and my sister in Wales, who think them great 
improvements, and are delighted with the poem as it now 
stands. Second parts, if much inferior to the first, are 
always disgusting, and as I had succeeded in Yarrow 
Unvisitedy I was anxious that there should be no falling 
off ; but that was unavoidable, perhaps, from the sub- 
ject, as imagination almost always transcends reality. I 
remain, . . . with great regard and respect, yours most 

^' William Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to R, P, Gillies 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 22, 18 14. 
My dear Sir, 

Your account of yourself distresses me. Flee from 
your present abode. If you resolve on going to London, 
let me beg of you to take Westmoreland in your way. 
You can make a trial here, and should it not answer, you 
are only so far on your way to town. . . . 

Your first position, that every idea which passes through 
a poet's mind may be made passionate, and therefore poet- 
ical, I am not sure that I understand. If you mean through 
a poet's mind when in a poetical mood, the words are noth- 
ing but an identical proposition. But a poet must be sub- 
ject to a thousand thoughts in common with other men, 
and many of them must, I suppose, be as unsusceptible 
of alliance with poetic passion as the thoughts that inter- 
est ordinary men. But the range of poetic feeling is far 
wider than is ordinarily supposed, and the furnishing new 
proofs of this fact is the only incontestible demonstration 
of genuine poetic genius. Secondly, "The moment a 
clear idea of any kind is conceived, it ought to be brought 
out directly, and as rapidly as possible, without a view 
to any particular style of language." I am not sure that 
I comprehend your meaning here. Is it that a man's 
thoughts should be noted down in prose? or that he 
should express them in any kind of verse that they most 
easily fall into ? I think it well to make brief memoranda 
of our most interesting thoughts in prose ; but to write 
fragments of verse is an embarrassing practice. A simi- 
lar course answers well in painting, under the name of 


Studies ; but in poetry it is apt to betray a writer into 
awkwardness, and to turn him out of his course for the 
purpose of lugging on these ready-made pieces by the 
head and shoulders. Or do you simply mean that such 
thoughts as arise in the process of composition should 
be expressed in the first words that offer themselves, as 
being likely to be most energetic and natural? If so, 
this is not a rule to be followed without cautious excep- 
tions. My first expressions I often find detestable ; and 
it is frequently true of second words, as of second 
thoughts, that they are the best. I entirely accord with 
you in your third observation, that we should be cautious 
not to waste our lives in dreams of imaginary excellence, 
for a thousand reasons, and not the least for this, that 
these notions of excellence may perhaps be erroneous, 
and then our inability to catch a phantom of no value 
may prevent us from attempting to seize a precious 
substance within our reach. 

When your letter arrived I was in the act of reading 
to Mrs. Wordsworth your Exile^ which pleased me more, 
I think, than anything that I have read of yours. There 
is, indeed, something of " mystification " about it, which 
does not enhance its value with me ; but it is, I think, in 
many passages delightfully conceived and expressed. I 
was particularly charmed with the seventeenth stanza, 
first part. This is a passage which I shall often repeat 
to myself ; and I assure you that, with the exception of 
Bums and Cowper, there is very little of recent verse, 
however much it may interest me, that sticks to my 
memory (I mean which I get by heart). . . . 

. . . Mr. Hogg's Badlew (I suppose it to be his) I 
could not get through. There are two pretty passages ; 
the flight of the deer, and the falling of the child from the 


rock of Stirling, though both are a little outrk. But the 
story is coarsely conceived, and, in my judgment, as 
coarsely executed ; the style barbarous, and the versifica- 
tion harsh and uncouth. Mr. Hogg is too illiterate to 
write in any measure or style that does not savour of 
balladism. This is much to be regretted ; for he is pos- 
sessed of no ordinary power. 

. . . Do not imagine that my principles lead me to 
condemn Scott's method of pleasing the public, or that I 
have not a very high respect for his various talents and 
extensive attainments. . . . With great respect, I remain 


William Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[No date.] 
My dear Friend, 

I don't know that it is quite fair to sit down to answer 
a letter of friendship the moment it is received, but allow 
me to do so in this case. ... To you I will whisper that 
77ie Excursion has one merit if it has no other, viz. variety 
of musical effect. Tell Patty Smith this. The name is a 
secret with me, and would make her stare. Exhort her 
to study with her fingers till she has learned to confess it 
to herself. Miss S.'s notion of poetical imagery is prob- 
ably taken from The Pleasures of Hope^ or Gertrude of 
Wyoming; see, for instance, stanza first of said poem. 
There is very little imagery of thatYxn^ in The Excursion; 
but I am far from subscribing to your concession that 
there is little imagery in the poem ; either collateral, in 
the way of metaphor coloring the style; illustrative, in 


the way of simile ; or directly under the shape of descrip- 
tion or incident. There is a great deal, though not quite 
so much as will be found in the other parts of the poem, 
where the subjects are more lyrically treated, and where 
there is less narration or description turning upon man- 
ners, and those repeated actions which constitute habits, 
or a course of life. Poetic passion (Dennis has well 
observed) is of two kinds ; imaginative and enthusiastic, 
and merely human and ordinary. Of the former it is 
only to be feared that there is too great a proportion. 
But all this must inevitably be lost upon Miss P. S. 

The soul, dear Mrs. Clarkson, may be re-given, when it 
has been taken away. My own " Solitary " is an instance 
of this ; but a soul that has been dwarfed by a course of 
bad culture cannot, after a certain age, be expanded into 
one of even ordinary proportion. Mere error of opinion, 
mere apprehension of ill consequences from supposed 
mistaken views on my part, could never have rendered 
your correspondent blind to the innumerable analogies 
and types of infinity, or insensible to the countless awak- 
enings to noble aspiration, which I have transfused into 
that poem from the Bible of the Universe, as it speaks to 
the ear of the intelligent, and as it lies open to the eyes 
of the humble-minded. 

I have alluded to the lady's errors of opinion. She 
talks of my being a worshiper of Nature. A passionate 
expression, uttered incautiously in the poem upon the 
Wye, has led her into this mistake ; she, reading in cold- 
heartedness, and substituting the letter for the spirit. 
Unless I am greatly mistaken, there is nothing of this 
I kind in Tke Excursion, There is indeed a passage towards 
\ the end of the fourth book, where the Wanderer intro- 
duces the simile of the Boy and the Shell, that has 


something ordinarily (but absurdly) called Spinosistk. But 
the intelligent reader will easily see the dramatic propriety 
of the passage. The Wanderer, in the beginning of the 
book, had given vent to his own devotional feelings, and 
announced in some degree his own creed. He is here 
preparing the way for more distinct conceptions of the 
Deity, by reminding the Solitary of such religious feel- 
ings as cannot but exist in the minds of those who 
affect atheism. She condemns me for not distinguish- 
ing between Nature as the work of God, and God him- 
self. But where does she find this doctrine inculcated? 
Whence does she gather that the author of The Excursion 
looks upon Nature and God as the same } He does not 
indeed consider the Supreme Being as bearing the same 
relation to the Universe, as a watch-maker bears to a 
watch. In fact, there is nothing in the course of the 
religious education adopted in this country, and in the use 
made by us of the Holy Scriptures, that appears to me so 
injurious as perpetually talking about making by God, 

Oh ! that your correspondent had heard a conversation 
which I had in bed with my sweet little boy, four and 
a half years old, upon this subject the other morning. 
" How did God make me ? Where is God ? How does 
he speak? He never spoke to me,^^ I told him that 
God was a spirit, — that he was not like his flesh, which he 
could touch ; but more like his thoughts, in his mind, 
which he could not touch. The wind was tossing the fir 
trees, and the sky and light were dancing about in their 
dark branches, as seen through the window. Noting 
these fluctuations, he exclaimed eagerly, " There 's a bit 
of Him, I see it there ! " This is not meant entirely for 
father's prattle; but for heaven's sake, in your religious 
talk with children, say as little as possible about making. 


One of the main objects of The Recluse is to reduce the 
calculating understanding to its proper level among the 
human faculties. 

... I have done little or nothing towards your request 
of furnishing you with arguments to cope with my antago- 
nist Read the book if it pleases you ; the construction 
of the language is uniformly perspicuous ; at least I have 
taken every possible pains to make it so, therefore you 
will have no difficulty there. The impediments you may 
meet with will be of two kinds, such as exist in the Ode 
which concludes my second volume of poems. This 
poem rests entirely upon two recollections of childhood ; 
one that of a splendour in the objects of sense which is 
passed away ; and the other an indisposition to bend to 
the law of death, as applying to our own particular case. 
A reader who has not a vivid recollection of these feelings 
having existed in his mind in childhood cannot under- 
stand that poem. So also with regard to some of those ele- 
ments of the human soul whose importance is insisted upon 
in The Excursion^ and some of those images of sense which 
are dwelt upon as holding that relation to Immortality and 
Infinity which I have before alluded to. . . . 





William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

[No date.] 

. . . Lamb is justifiably enraged at the spurious review 
which his friends suspect to be his. No Newmarket jockey, 
no horse-stealer, was ever able to play a hundredth part 
of the tricks upon the person of an unhappy beast that the 
Bavius of the Quarterly Review has done. . . . 

To talk of the offence of writing The Excursion and the 
difficulty of forgiving the author, is carrpng audacity and 
presumption to a height of which I did not think any 
woman was capable. Had my poem been much coloured 
by books, as many parts of what I have to write must be, 
I should have been accused (as Milton has been) of 
pedantry, and of having a mind which could not support 
itself but by other men's labours. Do not you perceive 
that my conversations almost all take place out of doors, 
and all with grand objects of Nature, surrounding the 
speakers, for the express purpose of their being alluded 
to in illustration of the subjects treated of? Much 
imagery from books would have been an impertinence, 
and an incumbrance ; where it was required, it is found. 

As to passion, it is never to be lost sight of that The 
Excursion is part of a work ; that in its plan it is conver- 
sational; and that, if I had introduced stories exciting 


curiosity, and filled with violent conflicts of passion and a 
rapid interchange of striking incidents, these things could 
have never harmonized with the rest of the work ; and all 
further discourse, comment, or reflections must have been 
put a stop to. This I write for you, and not for your friend ; 
with whom (if you would take my advice) you will neither 
converse by letters, nor vive voce, upon a subject of which 
she is in every respect disqualified to treat. Farewell . . . 

W. W. 

William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

New Year's Eve. 
My dear Friend, 

... I am encouraged by finding so much of your 
letter devoted to The Excursion, ... I have neither 
care nor anxiety, being assured that if it be of God, it 
must stand ; and that if the spirit of truth, " the vision 
and the faculty divine," be not in it, and do not pervade 
it, it must perish. So let the wisest and best of the 
present generation, and of posterity, decide the question. 
Thoroughly indifferent as I am on this point, I will 
acknowledge that I have a wish for the sale of the present 
edition, partly to repay the expenses of our Scotch tour ; 
and still more to place the book within reach of those 
who can neither purchase nor procure it in its present 
expensive shape. ... I smiled at your notice of Coleridge 
reviewing The Excursion in the Ed} I much doubt whether 
he has read three pages of the poem; and Jeffrey has 
akeady printed off a review, beginning with these elegant 
and decided words, " This will never do"; the sage critic 

^ The Edinburgh Review. — Ed. 



then proceeding to shew cause why this precious farce 
is what the coxcomb's idolaters call a crushing review. 
Therefore you see, as the evil spirits are rouzed, it becomes 
the good ones to stir ; or what is to become of the poor 
poet and his labours ? 

I will now tell you, by way of chit-chat, the little that I 
have heard of the reception of the poem. Dr. Parr (who, 
you recollect, gave a proof of his critical acumen in the 
affair of Ireland's MSS., which he pronounced to be "gen- 
uine Shakespear") has declared that it is all but Milton ; 
Dr. Johnson, a leading man of Birmingham, says that 
there has been nothing equal to it since Milton's day. 
Mr. Sergeant Bough has spoken to the same effect. The 
Bishop of London ^ is in raptures ; the Duke of Devon- 
shire made it his companion in a late jaunt to Ireland, 
and was so much delighted that he frequently expressed 
his sorrow that he missed me in his late visit to Lowther, 
where I was expected about the same time. All the best 
readers even in Edinburgh are enchanted with it. This 
I had from a respected acquaintance who himself pur- 
chased three copies. A gentleman of Derby unknown 
to me pronounces it an admirably fine poem. A lady 
of Liverpool, a Quaker, breaks through all forms of cere- 
mony to express her gratitude by letter, which she does 
in most enthusiastic terms. Charles Lamb (I cannot 
overlook hini) calls it " the best of books " ; and lastly, 
your son Tom sate up all night reading it. If this won't 
satisfy you, I could give you a good deal more by rum- 
maging my memory. 

By way of per contra, I ought to tell you that the 
renowned poet and critic, Anthony Harrison of facetious 

1 Dr. William Howley. — Ed. 


memory, and the whole family of Addison (certain proof 
that the blood is adulterated, though the name continues 
to be spelt as formerly), found The Excursion not unpen 
but trhs pesant It was too low in the subjects for their 
high-flying fancies. Perhaps you may not remember that 
A. H. selected as a topic for his muse, the Bark House 
Beck, so called from its collecting into its bosom all the 
sweets of Jack Hendson's tan-yard. . . . 

From Dorothy Wordsworth^ in the same letter 

... As to the permanent fate of that poem^ or of 
my brother's collected works, I have not the shadow of a 
doubt I know that the good, and pure, and noble-minded 
will in these days, and when we sleep in the grave, 
be elevated, delighted, and bettered by what he has 
performed in solitude, for the delight of his own soul, 
independent of any lofty hope of being of service to his 
fellow creatures. . . . 

1 The Excursion. "Ed, 



Williapt Wordsworth to Sir George Beaumont 

Rydal Mount, February i, 1815. 
My dear Sir George, 

Accept my thanks for the permission given me to dedi- 
cate these poems to you. In addition to a lively pleasure 
derived from general considerations, I feel a particular 
satisfaction; for, by inscribing them with your name, I 
seem to myself in some degree to repay, by an appropri- 
ate honour, the great obligation which I owe to one part 
of the collection — as having been the means of first 
making us personally known to each other. Upon much 
of the remainder, also, you have a peculiar claim, — for 
some of the best pieces were composed under the shade 
of your own groves, upon the classic ground of Coleor- 
ton ; where I was animated by the recollection of those 
illustrious poets of your name and family, who were 
born in that neighbourhood ; and, we may be assured, 
did not wander with indifference by the dashing stream 
of Grace Dieu, and among the rocks that diversify the 
forest of Charnwood. Nor is there any one to whom 
such parts of this collection as have been inspired or 
coloured by the beautiful country from which I now 
address you, could be presented with more propriety than 
to yourself — who have composed so many admirable 


pictures from the suggestions of the same scenery. Early 
in life the sublimity and beauty of this region excited 
your admiration ; and I know that you are bound to it in 
mind by a still strengthening attachment. 

Wishing and hoping that this work may survive as a 
lasting memorial of a friendship, which I reckon among 
the blessings of my life, I have the honour to be, my dear 
Sir George, 

Yours most affectionately and faithfully, 

William Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Thomas De Quincey 

[Postmark, Feb. 8, 181 5.] 
My dear Sir, 

" W^en in his character of philosophical poet, having 
thought of Morality as implying in its essence voluntary 
obedience, and producing the effect of order, he trans- 
fers — in the transport of imagination — the law of moral 
to physical natures ; and, having contemplated, through 
the medium of that order, all modes of existence as sub- 
servient to one Spirit, concludes his address to the power 
of Duty in the following words : 

To humbler functions awful Power." 

The above is the quotation. 

I have sent to the printer another stanza to be inserted 
in Laodamia after 

While tears were thy best pastime day and night ; 
(not a full stop, as before) 


And while my youthful peers before my eyes 
(Each hero following his peculiar bent) 
Prepared themselves for glorious enterprise 
By martial sports — or, seated in the tent, 
Chieftains and things in council were detained ; 
What time the fleet at Aulis lay enchained. 

The wish*d-for wind was given : I then revolved our 
future course,^ etc. 

So, I fear it must be altered from the oracle, lest these 
words should seem to allude to the other answer of the 
oracle which commanded the sacrifice of Iphigenia. I 
wish you had mentioned why you desired the rough copies 
of the preface to be kept, as your request has led me to 
apprehend that something therein might have appeared 
to you as better or more clearly expressed than in the 
after draught ; and I should have been glad to reinstate 
accordingly. Pray write to us. We are all well. 

William Wordsworth to R, P. Gillies 

Rydal Mount, Feb. 17, 18 15. 
My dear Sir, 

. . . One of my engagements has been the writing of 

an additional preface and a supplementary essay to my 

poems. I have ordered Longman to send the book to 

you as soon as printed. . . . You will find a few hits at 

certain celebrated names of Scotland — I do not mean 

persons now living — which may give great offence ; yet 

not much, I think, to you. ... I confess I much prefer 

the classical model of Dr. Beattie to the insupportable 

^ See the poem Lctodamia^ 1. 122. — Ed. 


slovenliness, and neglect of S3nitax and grammar, by 
which Hogg's writings are disfigured. 

. . . You advert in your notes to certain stores of 
Highland character, incident, and manners, which have 
been but slightly touched upon. Would it not be well to 
collect these as materials for a poetic story, which, if you 
would set yourself to work in good earnest, I am confi- 
dent you could execute with effect ? Let me recommend 
this to you, or to compose a romance founded on some 
one of the many works of this kind that exist, as Wieland 
has done in his Oberon ; not that I should advise such 
a subject as he has chosen. You have an ear, and you 
have a command of diction, a fluency of style, and I wish, 
as your friend, that you would engage in some literary 
labour that would carry you out of yourself, and be the 
means of delighting the well-judging part of the world. 
In what I said upon the setting down thoughts in prose, 
I only meant briefly as memoranda to prevent their being 
lost. It is unaccountable to me how men could ever pro- 
ceed, as Racine (and Alfieri I believe) used to do, first 
writing their plays in prose, and afterwards turning them 
into verse. It may answer with so slavish a language 
and so enslaved a taste as the French have, but with us 
it is not to be thought of. 

. . . Let me know if you continue in the mind of try- 
ing the effect of Westmoreland air upon your spirits. 
Air. Wilson has a charming little cottage at Elleray, 
which, perhaps, he is not likely to make use of ; but this 
you would find very lonely ; and it is several miles dis- 
tant from us. I fear there would be some difficulty in 
getting lodgings that would suit you; but the trial must 
be made. The country is at present charming, the first 
spring flowers peeping forth in the gardens wonderfully. 



I hope that you continue to like The Excursion, I 
hear good news of it from many quarters. But its prog- 
ress to general notice must be slow. 

Have you read Lucien Bonaparte's epic ?^ I attempted 
it, but gave in at the sixth canto, being pressed for time. 
I shall, however, resume the labour, if opportunity offers. 
But the first three stanzas convinced me that the author 
was no poet. Farewell I Miss Hutchinson is still in 
Wales. Mrs. Wordsworth begs her best regards. 

Faithfully yours, 

William Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Thomas Poole 

Rydal Mount, Ambleside, 
March 13, 181 5. 
My dear Poole, 

A few days ago I was at Keswick, where I learned 
that Hartley was to go to Oxford about Easter. Mrs. 
Coleridge wished me to write to you and mention this, 
and also that if it were not inconvenient to you, that the 
;£*io which you were so kind as to offer, would be con- 
venient at this time ; as she has not the means of fitting 
him out, and she does not like to apply to his uncles in 
the first instance. He is to go to Merton College, where 
his cousins or uncles (I am not sure which) have pro- f 
cured him an office, the title of it Postmaster, which is to j- 
bring him in £^0 per annum, which with his uncle's ;f 40, |- 

1 Prince Lucien Bonaparte (177 5-1 840), brother of Napoleon 
Bonaparte, published in London an epic entitled Charlemagne^ two 
volumes, 1814. — £d. 



Lady B.'s £30^ and your ;^io, it is hoped will maintain 
him. Cottle also allows £$ per annum; if more be 
wanted, Southey and I must try to advance it. I have 
done all in my power to impress upon H.'s mind the 
necessity of not trusting vaguely to his talents, and to an 
irregular sort of knowledge, however considerable it may 
be in some particulars ; and of applying himself zealously 
and perseveringly to those studies which the University 
points out to him.* His prime object ought to be to gain 
an independence ; and I have striven to place this truth 
before his understanding in the clearest point of view; 
and I took the opportunity of speaking to him on the 
subject in the presence of his uncle Southey, who con- 
firmed and enforced all that I said. So that if good 
advice have any virtue in it, he has not been left unfur- 
nished with it. Southey means to look out for a place in 
some public office for Derwent ; he hopes to succeed in the 
Exchequer where the situations are very good. Sara has 
made great progress in Italian imder her mother ; and is 
learning French and Latin. She is also instructed in music 
by Miss Barker, a friend of Southey's, who is their near 
neighbour ; so that should it be necessary she will be well 
fitted to become a governess in a nobleman's or gentle- 
man's family, in course of time ; she is remarkably 
clever, and her musical teacher says that her progress 
is truly astonishing. Her health unfortunately is but 

It was my intention to write to you if Mrs. C. had not 
requested it, and I am happy to give this account of our 
friend's children, who are all very promising. Neverthe- 
less, I have some fears for Hartley, as he is too much 
inclined to the eccentric. But it is our duty to hope for 
the best Coleridge, we have learnt, is still with the 


Morgans, but removed from, the neighbourhood of Bath 
to Colne or Cain in Wiltshire. His friends in this coun- 
try hear nothing from him directly. A sister of my wife's, 
who was staying at Bath, walked over to call upon him, 
but found the family removed. His late landlady was 
very communicative, and said that Mr. C. used to talk 
with her of his children, and mentioned that his eldest 
was going to college. So that you see he expects the 
thing to take place, though he wished to put it off when 
you conversed with him on the subject I rejoice to 
hear of your thriving school. I have not yet seen your 
relation's pamphlet which you recommend ; I have heard 
it praised by others, and shall procure it. 

If you have read my poem. The Excursion^ you will 
there see what importance I attach to the Madras system.^ 
Next to the art of printing it is the noblest invention for 
the improvement of the human species. Our population 
in this neighbourhood is not sufficient to apply it on a 
large scale ; but great benefit has been derived from it 
even upon a small one. If you have read my poem, I 
should like to have a record of your feelings during the 
perusal, and your opinion afterwards ; if it has not deeply 
interested you, I should fear that I had missed my aim in 
some important particulars. I had the hope of pleasing 
you in my mind during the composition in many parts, 
especially those in which I have alluded to the influence 
of the manufacturing spirit ; and in the pictures, in the 
last book but one, which I have given of boys in different 

1 So called from Dr. Andrew Bell (1793-1832), who was chaplain 
and teacher at Madras. Owing to the want of assistant masters, he 
invented a method of mutual instruction by the pupils ; and on his 
return to England organized the educational system of pupil-teachers. 
— Ed. 


situations in life, the boy of the manufacturer, of the yeo- 
man, and the clergyman's and gentleman's son. If you 
can conscientiously recommend this expensive work to 
any of your wealthier friends, I will thank you, as I wish 
to have it printed in a cheaper form, for those who cannot 
afford to buy it in its present shape. And as it is in some 
places a little abstruse, and in all serious, without any of 
the modem attractions of glittering style, or incident to 
provoke curiosity, it cannot be expected to make its way 
without difficulty, and it is therefore especially incumbent 
on those who value it to exert themselves in its behalf. 
My opinion as to the execution of the minor parts of my 
works is not in the hast altered. My poems are upon the 
point of being republished, in two volumes octavo, with a 
new preface and several additions, though not any pieces 
of length. I should like to present you with a copy as a 
testimony of my regard, if you would let me know where 
you wish to have it sent ; or if you could call, or desire 
anybody to call, for it at Longmans. Pray give me your 
notions upon the Corn Laws, what restricted price you 
think high enough. Some one seems indispensable. 

Most faithfully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

i6th March, [1815.] 
My dear Friend, 

. . . William had an interesting letter last night from 
the " ingenuous poet " of Derby ^ whom he quotes in the 

1 John Edwards, author of The Patriot Soldier (1784), Kathleen 
(1808), Ahradates and Panthea (1808), etc. — £d. 


Essay on Epitaphs, I will give you an extract from his 
letter. He says : " I could not comply with your injunc- 
tion not to purchase T?u Excursion^ etc., etc. I would 
not now be without the book for twice its value." 
He goes on to say that he had had a letter from his friend 
Montgomery, the poet,^ from which he quotes as follows : 
"The poem in my opinion — an opinion confirmed by 
repeated perusals of it — is incomparably the greatest and 
the most beautiful work of the present age of poetry ; 
and sets Mr. W. beyond controversy above all the living, 
and almost all the dead, of his fraternity. 

I assure you that the spirit of that book, which I read 
first at Scarborough in September, so possessed me that 
I have scarcely yet recovered my relish for any other 
modern verse. The peculiar harmony of rhythm, felicity 
of language, and splendour of thought for a while made 
all poor or feeble in comparison. I am gradually return- 
ing to sober feelings, etc., etc." 

This passage I think will interest you. Montgomery 
was the author of ^ The Eclectic Review^ but though he 
there speaks with profound respect and admiration, and 
though he shews (which nobody else in the way of criti- 
cism has done) that he is deeply sensible of the labour 
and skill with which the poem has been wrought up, he 
does not speak with the same feeling as in this private 
letter, probably because in the Review he wrote under 
another hand. . . . 

1 James Montgomery, author of The Wanderers in Switzerland^ 
etc. (1806), The World before the Flood, etc. (18 13). — Ed. 

2 She probably meant " of the article in The Eclectic Review^ 
— Ed. 


William Wordsworth to R, P,* Gillies 

Rydal Mount, April 25, 1815.1 
My dear Sir, 

I think of starting for London in a few days, with Mrs. 
Wordsworth, and as I wish to leave home with as clear a 
conscience as I can, I sit down to atone for one of my of- 
fences in not having replied sooner to your kind letter. . . . 

You ought to have received my two volumes of poems 
long before this, if Longman had done his duty. I ordered 
a copy likewise to be sent to Walter Scott. I cannot but 
flatter myself that this publication will interest you. The 
pains which I have bestowed on the composition can never 
be known but to myself, and I am very sorry to find, on 
reviewing the work, that the labour has been able to do so 
little for it. You mentioned Guy Mannering in your last. 
I have read it. I cannot say that I was disappointed, for 
there is very considerable talent displayed in the perform- 
ance, and much of that sort of knowledge with which the 
author's mind is so richly stored. But the adventures I 
think not well chosen, or invented ; and they are still 
worse put together ; and the characters, with the excep- 
tion of Meg Merrilies, excite little interest. In the man- 
agement of this lady the author has shown very consider- 
able ability, but with that want of taste which is universal 
among modem novels of the Radcliffe school ; which, 
as far as they are concerned, this is. I allude to the 
laborious manner in which everything is placed before 

^ So it is dated in Gillies' book ; but Wordsworth was then in 
London. The month was probably March. The mistake may be 
either Wordsworth's or Gillies*. — Ed. 


your eyes for the production of picturesque effect. The 
reader, in good narration, feels that pictures rise up 
before his sight, and pass away from it unostentatiously, 
succeeding each other. But when they are fixed upon an 
easel for the express purpose of being admired, the judi- 
cious are apt to take offence, and even to turn sulky at the 
exhibitor's officiousness. But these novels are likely to 
be much overrated on their first appearance, and will 
afterwards be as much undervalued. Waverley height- 
ened my opinion of Scott's talents very considerably, and 
if Mannering has not added much, it has not taken much 
away. Infinitely the best part of Waverley is the pictures 
of Highland manners at Mac Iver's castle, and the deline- 
ation of his character, which are done with great spirit. 
The Scotch baron, and all the circumstances in which he 
is exhibited, are too peculiar and outrL Such caricatures 
require a higher condiment of humour to give them a 
relish, than the author of Waverley possesses. . . . 
Excuse this dull and hasty letter, and believe me, 

Most sincerely yours, 

William Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Basil Montagu 

Kendal, May 3d, Friday Morning, [181 5.]* 

My dear Montagu, 

You will be perplexed by receiving three letters from 
me. One was sent from Rydal yesterday, another in the 

1 This letter was written on a half sheet of thin post paper, without 
water mark ; the other sheet, containing the *' memorandum," having 
doubtless been detached by Basil Montagu. The date is fixed by the 
mention of Dorothy's age (44). It was written in 1815. — Ed. 





shape of a parcel this morning from Kendal, under an 
expectation, which I find is erroneous, that it would be 
delivered to you on Sunday. Since that letter was written 
I have consulted an intelligent attorney here, and from 
him I learn that the bond will be of no use to me for either 
principal or interest (without an expensive process in 
chancery), till Richard's son is of age, if Richard die 
without a will providing for the payment. I therefore 
beg you, as a friend and a man of business acting as my 
representative^ to state to my brother that, under the pres- 
ent circumstances, it is my duty to enforce upon him the 
necessity of making and executing a will by which his 
estates shall be charged with the payment, within a year 
after his decease, of whatever sum shall be found due 
from him to his sister and myself, from the estate of our 
f father, or otherwise. I sincerely beg of you to see that 
this is done immediately. My brother and I examined 
the accounts together, and agreed upon everything relat- 
4 ing to this, according to the memorandum attached to 
I this, so that there can be no difficulty on this part of the 
subject. I shall be most anxious till I hear from you 
that this is done; for do think of my poor sister's 
situation at present, forty-four years of age, and without 
the command of either principal or interest of her little 
property, in case Richard has not provided otherwise. I 
will now repeat my thanks for your goodness to Richard. 
You hint that a sale should have been made. It seems 
as if there was reason to apprehend that dilatoriness may 
still interfere. Surely Richard will be sensible of what 
he owes to his own family, and to his father's. Farewell, 

Affectionately yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to John Scott 

24 Edward Street, Cavendish Square, 
May 14, 1 81 5. 

. . . During the earlier stages of the French Revolution 
I resided upwards of twelve months in France, and have 
since had some opportunities of studying the character of 
that people : and the impressions then made upon my mind 
place it out of my power to doubt whether the unfavour- 
able picture which you draw of what they have now 
become be unfavourable. 

Thanking you for the pleasure and instruction which I 
have received from your Visit to Paris^ I remain, with 
great respect. ^^^^^jj^ ^^^^^^ 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[Postmark, Kendal, 18 15.] 
28th June, Wednesday. 
My dear Friend, 

. . . Upon the Ambleside coach this morning was 
affixed a paper " Great News. Abdication of Buonaparte," 
but no particulars. Now I do not like the word abdica- 
tion. What right has he to abdicate, or to have a word 
to say in the business ? I am only afraid that the armies 
have stopped too soon, as they did before. A few hours 
will explain all, but I confess I dare not hope that matters 


will not be again mismanaged. The particulars of the 
battle of the i8th are dreadful. The joy of victory is 
indeed an awful thing, and I had no patience with the 
tinkling of our Ambleside bells upon the occasion ; nor 
with the Prince Regent's message, dictated as he says by 
" serious consideration," recommending that further proofs 
of the munificence of the people should be shewn to the 
Duke of Wellington. It is perfectly childish to be in such 
a bustle while even his own family ought to have been at 
least paying the tribute of respectful tears to the memory 
of the gallant Duke of Brunswick. 

Eleven o'clock. Before I go to bed I must tell you that, 
saving grief for the lamentable loss of so many brave men, 
I have read the newspapers of to-night with unmingled 
triumph ; and now I wait anxiously for Friday's post, to 
know how our armies will proceed. So the abdication 
was made to his own people 1 That is as it should be ; 
and I hope he is now a safe prisoner, somewhere. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[Postmark, Kington.] 

November nth, [1815.] 

. . . He [William] wrote to me from Lowther Castle 
on the 4th, and intended to return to Rydal on the 7th. 
He was unlucky in not arriving at L. a few days earlier, 
as the Duke of Devonshire had been there, and expressed 
a g^eat desire to see him. He had just returned from 
Ireland, where he had made The Excursion the companion 
of his tour, and had been greatly pleased with it. I say 
he was unfortunate, because his enemies will be busy 


enough in the reviews, and elsewhere, and it is really of 
no little importance to us that the work should sell, and 
for another reason. He intends publishing The White 
Doe in the spring, and the scene of that poem is Bolton 
Abbey, the favourite (and much-admired by him) property 
of the Duke of Devonshire. Perhaps you may not guess, 
for I have but half explained myself, why I am sorry that 
William did not see the Duke, on account of the sale of 
The Excursion, 

... I saw two sections of Hazlitt*s review at Rydal, 
and did not think them nearly so well written as I should 
have expected from him, though he praised more than I 
should have expected. His opinion that all the charac- 
ters are one character I cannot but think utterly false. 
There seems to me to be an astonishing difference, con- 
sidering that the primary elements are the same, fine 
talents and strong imagination. He says that the narra- 
tives are a clog upon the poem. I was not sorry to hear 
it, for I am sure that with common readers those parts of 
the poem will be by far the most interesting. 


William Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Rydal Mount, November 25th, 181 5. 
My dear Friend, 

. . . Luff^ was a genuine lover of his country, and a 

true and enlightened friend of mankind. On this account 

I think it right that his surviving friends should not 

1 A Patterdale friend of the Wordsworth's and the Clarkson's. 
See Dorothy Wordsworth's "Mountain Ramble*' (1805) in the 
second volume of \\eiX Journals, p. 15, etc. — Ed. 


suffer him to pass out of the world, without a notice or 
record of his worth, which may stand a chance of being 
generally perused. The main difficulty lies in finding out 
a channel for things of this kind. A notice in a news- 
paper must be short; and those in the obituaries of 
magazines are I fear little read, there being no maga- 
zine existing which appears to be in general circulation. 
What is your opinion of the best way of doing this .? . . . 

William Wordsworth to Benjamin Robert Haydon 

Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, 
December 21st, 1815. 

... I was much hurt to learn that you still suffer 
much from weakness of sight, and continue to be impeded 
in your labours by the same cause. Why did you not tell 
me what progress you had made in your grand picture, 
and how you are satisfied with your performance ? I am 
not surprised to hear that Canova expressed himself 
highly pleased with the Elgin Marbles ; a man must be 
senseless as a clod, or as perverse as a fiend, not to be 
enraptured with them. . . . 

Now for the poems, which are sonnets ; one composed 
the evening I received your letter, the other the next 
day, and the third the day following ; I shall not tran- 
scribe them in the order in which they were written, but 

The last you will find was occasioned, I might say 
inspired, by your last letter, if there be any inspiration 
in it ; the second records a feeling incited in me by the 
object it describes in the month of October last, and the 


first by a still earlier sensation which the revolution of 
the year impressed me with last autumn. 

[The three sonnets are then transcribed, viz. :] 

While not a leaf seems faded ; while the fields, etc. 

How clear, how keen, how marvellously bright, etc. 

High is our calling, Friend 1 Creative Art, etc. 

I wish the things had been better worthy of your accept- 
ance, and of the careful preservation with which you will ^ 
be inclined to honour this little effusion of my regard. 

With high respect, I am, my dear sir. 

Most faithfully yours, 

William Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs. Clarkson 

23d December, [181 5.] 
My dear Friend, 

... In weather precisely of this kind, except that the 
snow did not then lie thick upon the ground, on the | 
shortest day of the year sixteen years ago, did William ! 
and I at five o'clock in the evening enter our cottage at 
Grasmere. We found no preparations except beds, without 



curtains, in the rooms upstairs, and a dying spark in the 
grate of the gloomy parlour. Your entrance upon your 
new house is not like this. . . . 

William and I set forward upon a like journey, to 
make the preparations necessary for a final settlement 
with Richard. The weather was frosty without snow, 
and I never in my youngest days, in the summer season, 
had a more delightful excursion; except for the inter- 
vention of melancholy recollections of persons gone, 
never to return. We set off at one o'clock, walked over 
Ku-kstone, and reached Patterdale by daylight ; slept 
there, and rose early the next morning, determined to 
walk to Hallsteads (Mr. Marshall's new house, built 
upon Skelly Nab) before breakfast. The lake was calm 
as a mirror, the rising sun tinged with pink light the 
snow-topped mountains, and we agreed that all we saw 
in the grander parts of the scene was more beautiful even 
than in summer. At Hallsteads we breakfasted, and 
rested till twelve o'clock. I parted from William at Red 
Hills. He went to Sockbridge, and I proceeded to Pen- 
rith, where I arrived at a little before three o'clock, with- 
out the least fatigue. . . . My dear friend, have I not 
reason to be thankful that my strength is thus continued 
to me, and that my pleasure in walking remains as keen 
as ever. . . . 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Sunday, the last day of the old year, [1815.] 

My dearest Friend, 

. . . William and I were at Sockbridge. I have given 
you the history of our journey in my letter to Playford. 
We were favoured in weather for a whole week, and per- 
formed the entire journey except about six miles on foot, 
to our infinite satisfaction, pacing side by side along the 
shores of UUswater, as we did years ago, when your hos- 
pitable dwelling was the bourne to which we tended. . . . 



William Wordsworth to Francis Wrangham 

Rydal Mount, 
Thanksgiving Day, January, 18 16. 
My dear Wrangham, 

You have given an additional mark of that friendly dis- 
position, and those affectionate feelings which I have long 
known you to possess, by writing to me after my long and 
unjustifiable silence. But as I have told you (though I 
don't remember in these words), I was not bom with a 
pen in my mouth, nor in my hands or toes. I am pain- 
fully conscious how poor a genius I possess for episto- 
lary communications ; and if I had any native flow of this 
kind, my miserable penmanship would at once check it 
How can such matters, and in such a garb, be worth any- 
body's acceptance ? This is the interrogation which now 
and always stares me in the face when I would converse 
with my friends by means of paper and ink. Heaven 
first taught letters for some wretch's aid, but presumptu- 
ous indeed should I be if I were not assured that such 
letters as my pen makes are excepted. Neither Cupid, 
nor Minerva, nor Phoebus, nor Mercury, nor any of the 
pagan gods who presided over liberal and kindly inven- 
tions, deign to shed their influence over my endeavours 
in this field. But may the goddess of patience support 


you ; while you attempt in friendship to read, what I am 
now preparing for the perplexity of your understanding, 
and the annoyance of your eyesight. 

Unluckily I have neither seen nor heard of your trans- 
lation from Virgil. You have done well to amuse your- 
self in this way; but the employment must have been 
somewhat top difficult for mere pastime. The Eclogues 
of Virgil appear to me, in that in which he was most 
excellent, polish of style and harmony of numbers, the 
most happily finished of all his performances. I know 
that I shall be much gratified by your translation when 
it finds its way to me, which I hope it will do soon. 

Of T?u White Doe I have little to say, but that I hope 
it will be acceptable to the intelligent, for whom alone it 
is written. It starts from a high point of imagination, 
and comes round through various wanderings of that fac- 
ulty to a still higher ; nothing less than the apotheosis of 
the animal, who gives the first of the two titles to the 
poem. And as the poem thus begins and ends with pure 
and lofty imagination, every motive and impulse that 
actuates the persons introduced is from the same source. 
A kindred spirit pervades, and is intended to harmonize, 
the whole. Throughout, objects (the banner, for instance) 
derive their influence not from properties inherent in 
them, not from what they are actually in themselves, but 
from such as are bestowed upon them by the minds of 
those who are conversant with or affected by those 
objects. Thus the poetry, if there be any in the work, 
proceeds whence it ought to do, from the soul of man, 
communicating its creative energies to the images of the 
external world. 

But too much of this. I am happy to hear that your 
family prospers, and that your children are to your mind. 


In my own I find much to regret, and something to com- 
plain of ; faults most of which have probably been created 
by my own mismanagement. I am, however, truly and 
deeply thankful to God for what he has left me. Do not 
imagine, dear Wrangham, that though I am a bad corre- 
spondent, I therefore forget either you or my other early 
friends. Farewell. I am always glad to hear of you. 

Most faithfully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to John Scott^ 

Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, 
February 22, 181 6. 
My dear Sir, 

Your Paris Revisited has been in constant use since I 
received it — a very welcome sight it was. . . . Nothing 
in your works has charmed us more than the lively man- 
ner in which the painting of everything that passes before 
your eyes is executed. Every one of your words tells; 
and this is an art which few travellers, at least of our 
days, are masters of. Your estimate of Buonaparte's 
character is, I think, perfectly just. ... I wish that I 
could think as favourably as you do of the Duke of Well- 
ington. Since his first d^but in Portugal I have watched 
his course as carefully as my opportunities allowed me to 
do ; and notwithstanding the splendour of those actions 
at the head of which he has been placed, I am convinced 
that there is no magnanimity in his nature. You have 

1 Editor of The Champion, — Ed. 


laudably availed yourself of the temptation to contrast 
his mode of proceeding with Buonaparte's ; and undoubt- 
edly he appears to great advantage opposed to that auda- 
cious charlatan and remorseless desperado. But depend 
upon it, the constitution of his mind is not generous, nor 
will he pass with posterity for a hero. One would desire 
that in all cases the personal dignity of the prime agents 
should correspond with that of important actions; but 
this rarely happens in human affairs either military or 
civil ; and I have found nothing more mortifying in the 
course of my life than those peeps behind the curtain, that 
have shown me how low in point of moral elevation stand 
some of those men who have been the most efficient instru- 
ments and machines for public benefit that our age has 
produced. We live in inquisitive times, and there is but 
too little reserve in gratifying public curiosity. Happy 
will it be for this distinguished leader, and I will add for 
his country, if his name be a gainer from the communica- 
tions which his character and actions will give birth to ! 
I fear that upon the whole it will be otherwise ; and I 
express this fear to you, who from the best motives have 
so ably defended and paneg)rrized him, with strong regret; 
but sincerity requires it.^ . . . 

This personal question is the only material point in 
your books in which I differ from you. I approve of all 
that you have said upon the subject of the removal of the 
works of art from Paris. The Emperor of Russia was 
the main cause of their being left in French possession 
by the first peace. His is a Frenchified intellect — to 
that degree that it was not without much difficulty he 
gave his consent, on the first occupation of Paris, to the 

1 Wordsworth's unfavourable estimate of " the Great Duke " was 
modified in after years. — £d. 


King of Prussia removing his own cannon which he found 
there. The calamities of these times, as far as they were 
occasioned by the domination of the French, have been 
mainly owing to this, that they . . . never ventured upon 
an entire reliance on those rules of justice which were 
alone competent to save them. Had they been capable 
of this elevation of mind, a moment's reflection would 
have shown them that they had no right to confirm to the 
French the possession of these articles without the free 
unbiased consent of the original owners ; that they were 
not lawful conquests but infamous plunder ; and the allies 
by taking upon themselves to concede these things to 
the robbers, acted not less unjustly, whatever were their 
motives, than the original despoiler. ... It is the duty 
of an English Opposition to be rigorously hostile to the 
Ministry, but never let their endeavours to accomplish 
the downfall of their political antagonists excite in them 
a favourable aspiration for the enemies of their country. 
The Opposition party were unable to discern that a time 
of war and a time of peace required very different modes 
of proceeding on their part; that a style of hostility, 
which would have been laudable in the one, became 
detestable in the other. Through the whole course of 
the late war the party out of power blushed not to behave 
as if they had been retained by Buonaparte for his advo- 
cates. This was unsupportably revolting to all true- 
hearted Englishmen, who were not actively engaged in 
the contest, and could therefore see clearly and feel nat- 
urally. ... I will only add a word on Spanish affairs. 
The Cortes were what Lord Castlereay describes them, 
and worse. They thirsted after the independence of 
their country, and many of them nobly laboured to effect 
it ; but, as to civil liberty and religious institutions, their 


notions were as wild as the most headstrong Jacobins of 
France. Their plan was to erect an Iberian Republic — 
and they were pushing matters desperately to that extrem- 
ity. Think of a Republic in Spain — what horror to go 
through before such a thing could be brought about ; and 
what worse than horrors would have attended its rapid 
destruction ! Farewell. 

Most faithfully and respectfully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to John Scott 

Rydal Mount, Feb. 25th, [18 16.] 
My dear Sir, 

Most readily would I undertake the office which you 
propose to me, but for a reason which I am sure you will 
think sufficient for my declining it for a short while at 
least. I am myself engaged with an attempt to express 
in verse some feelings connected with these very sub- 
jects ; ^ and, till that engagement is over, neither in jus- 
tice to you or to myself can I introduce into my own 
mind such a stream as I have no doubt your poem will 
be felt to be. . . . My short essays, for there are two 
pieces,^ cannot possibly interfere with your work, as they 
stand at a distance from the body of the subject, which I 
do not doubt will be ably embraced by others. Southey 
is a fellow-labourer. I have seen but little of his per- 
formance, but that little gave me great pleasure. . . . 

^ Doubtless the TTianksgiving Ode^ and its sequel. — Ed. 


... I am glad that you have read my tract occasioned 
hy the Convention of Cintra. You must have seen there- 
in what my views were, and are, for in nothing are my 
principles changed. In verse I celebrated the king of 
•Sweden. He proved, I believe, a madman. What mat- 
ters that ? He stood forth as the only royal advocate, at 
that time, of the only truths by which, if judiciously 
applied, Europe could be delivered from bondage. I 
Seized on him as an outstanding object in which to 
embody certain principles of action, which human nature 
has thousands of times proved herself capable of being 
governed by. I boldly announced in prose the benefit 
nrhich Spain would derive from a Cortes, but I was under 
\ considerable mistake as to the degree in which the men 
Birho might compose it would be liable to French delu- 
sions. But a representative legislature is still in my opin- 
ion the best of political blessings when a country has 
tnaterials fit to compose it. Such had Spain for the pur- 
pose of achieving her national independence ; and I hope 
may have, ere long, to establish for herself a frame of 
dvil liberty. ' The late Cortes were not equal to that task. 
AlS to the Duke of Wellington, poetically treated he may 
pass for a hero ; and on that account I less regret what 
I wrote to you. But to the searching eye of the histo- 
rian, and still more of the biographer, he will, I appre- 
hend, appear as a man below the circumstances in which 
he moved. . . . 

Farewell. With much regard and increasing respect, 

I remain yours, ^ ^ 


William Wordsworth to John Scott 

Rydal Mount, March nth, 1816. 
My dear Sir, 

I wrote to you some little time since giving my reasons 
why I felt myself obliged to decline the undertaking which 
you did me the honour of proposing to me. Those reasons 
no longer exist; and I now write to let you know that 
having finished all that at present I have any intention of 
executing in connection with the great events of our time, 
I shall be happy to comply with your request, if you con- 
tinue in the same mind. 

When I wrote the sonnets inserted in The Champion^ I 
had no design of doing anything more. But I could not 
resist the temptation of giving vent to my feelings as 
collected in force upon the morning of the day appointed 
for a general thanksgiving. Accordingly, I threw off a 
sort of irregular ode upon this subject, which spread to 
nearly 350 lines ; the longest thing of the lyrical kind, I 
believe, except Spenser's Epithalatnion^ in our language. 
Out of this have sprung several smaller pieces, — effusions 
rather than compositions, — though in justice to myself I 
must say that upon the correction of the style I have 
bestowed, as I always do, great labour. I hope that my 
pains in this particular have not been thrown away, and 
that in their several degrees the things will not be found 
deficient in spirit. But I do not like to appear as giving 
encouragement to a lax species of writing, except where 
the occasion is so great as to justify an aspiration after 
a state of freedom beyond what a succession of regular 
stanzas will allow. But, as I before hinted, these smaller 


pieces are but offsets of the larger; and their defects in 
this point may be charged upon their parent, though I 
shall not call upon the public to be so indulgent. From 
my country I solicit no mercy. I have laboured intensely 
to merit its approbation, and in some smaller degree to 
secure (in future times at least) its gratitude; and for 
the present I am well contented with my portion of dis- 
tinction. If I wish for more, I can honestly affirm it is 
mainly from a belief that it would be an indication that a 
better taste was spreading, and high and pure feelings 
I becoming more general. 

In regard to your own announced adventure upon the 

sea of poetry, I may truly say that I was most glad to 

hear of it; because your prose has convinced me that 

you have a mind fitted to ensure success. Nevertheless 

H my pleasure was not absolutely pure ; for if you have not 

^' practised metre in youth, I should apprehend that your 

f thoughts would not easily accommodate themselves to 

f those chains, so as to give you a consciousness that you 

were moving under them and with them, gracefully and 

with spirit. I question not that you have written with 

rapidity ; nothing is more easy ; but in nothing is it more 

true than in composing verse that the nearest way home 

is the longest way about. In short I dreaded the labour 

which you were preparing for yourself. You are a master 

of prose ; and your powers may be so flexible and fertile 

as to be equal to both exercises, — so much the better ! 

I mean equal to them without injury to your health. But 

should it appear to me that the specimen you send of your 

poem requires additional care and exertion, I shall not 

scruple to tell you so ; and with the less reluctance because 

I am confident that you may attain eminence in English 

prose which few of late have reached. 


That field is at present almost uncultivated ; we have 
adroit living writers in abundance ; but impassioned, 
eloquent, and powerful ones not any, at least that I am 
acquainted with. Our prose, taking it altogether, is a 
disgrace to the country. I ought to apologize for putting 
your patience to the test by these wretched scrawls. But 
take me as I am. . . . Would you object to see my Thanks- 
giving Ode, etc., before publication ? If not, they will be 
sent you, and I should be grateful for your remarks. 

P.S. — I fear what I have said on prose, as now produced, 
may be misunderstood. Charles Lamb, my friend, writes 
prose exquisitely; Coleridge also has produced noble pas- 
sages ; so has Southey. But I mean there is no body of 
philosophical, impassioned, eloquent, finished prose now 

Your publisher must have been negligent, for a second 
copy of your Paris Revisited^ has reached me ! 


William Wordsworth to John Scott 

Rydal Mount, March 21, [18 16.] 
My dear Sir, 

I had packed up my little pieces of verse, intending 
to send them to you ; but on second thoughts, I have 
forwarded them direct to Longman, knowing that you are 
so much engaged ; and apprehending that you might not 
possibly be at home, which would have occasioned a delay. 
I was also desirous that the eifect of my verses upon you 

1 Paris Revisited in iSiSt by Way of Brussels ; including a Walk 
over the Field of Waterloo (1816). He had issued (in 1815) A Visit 
to Paris in 1814* — Ed. 



should not be interfered with by a blotted and blurred 
AiSS.y and by uncouth characters, irresistibly distracting 
attention. I shall be not the less anxious for the benefit of 
youT remarks after publication. I have not yet received 
my MSS. from you. In the same parcel I have sent for 
publication a letter in prose, to a friend of Burns, the poet, 
irhich I hope you will read with some satisfaction. 

No doubt you are personally acquainted with Brough- 
im ; I have some knowledge of him likewise. Our last 
Interview was terminated among the majestic woods of 
Lowther, near his own beautiful residence. Thither I 
would gladly remit him, " inter sylvas academi quaerere 
v^rum." ^ Mr. B. is not content with scribbling in the 
Edinburgh Review to the praise and glory of the Corsican, 
but he must insult the people of England by expressing in 
their House of Legislature, and that of the three kingdoms, 
his hope that that great man may be kindly treated in his 
insular prison. What is there in the conduct of this 
government that justifies an apprehension that the claims 
of humanity will not be attended to by it in this case ; 
though if there ever existed one in which those claims 
might be set aside, it is the present. Be persuaded, 
my dear sir, that men who in that assembly, or indeed 
anywhere else, can talk in this manner have no tact, and 
whatever may be their cleverness, no intellectual sanity. 
I congratulate you on having expressed in your last 
Champion a decided opinion on this subject. Haydon 
has done himself credit by his essay on the Elgin 
Marbles.^ . . . 

* Horace, Epistolae, Lib. TI, ep. ii, 1. 45. — Ed. 

* 77ie Judgment of Connoisseurs upon Works of Art compared with 
that of Professional Men, in reference more particularly to the Elgin 
Marbles (i8i6).--Ed. 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

4th April, [i8i6.]^ 
My dear Friend, 

... It grieves me to think how the childhood of these 
dear children passes away and you see nothing of them. 
Dorothy is now in her twelfth year, and John will be thir- 
teen years in June. She is lively, affectionate, and quick 
in faculties ; but is often wayward and has fits of obstinacy 
with pride. Of vanity she has little or none, and is utterly 
free from envy. She is a fine-looking girl ; but at times 
her face is very plain, at other times it i3 even beautiful. 
She is rather stout and tall, but neither in the extreme, 
holds her head up well, has a broad chest, and good 
shoulders, but walks and runs most awkwardly. 

John is much improved since he went to Mr. Dawes as 
a boarder, and his father hopes he will be a decent scholar 
in time. He is a noble, ingenuous-looking boy, and is 
thoroughly sweet-tempered, beloved by all his school- 
fellows, and respected by them for his integrity. Little 
Willy (I am glad to give him that title, for it makes me 
sad sometimes when I think how we are losing the others 
as children) is a very sweet and interesting child ; a 
happy mixture of tenderness and infantine simplicity, with 
liveliness, ardent curiosity, and great quickness. He is 
backward at his books, for he has only just begun to learn 
at all; but he is now under a new master, his father's 
clerk, and his progress is very rapid. All at once under 
him he became steady, whereas his mother, his aunt Sarah, 
and I, have all by turns undertaken him, and we could 

1 The year can be fixed from the children's ages. — Ed. 


Hiake nothing out. The lesson was the signal for yawn- 
ing, and for perpetual motion in one part of the body or 
another. ... 

William Wordsworth to R, P, Gillies 

Rydal Mount, April 9, 18 16. 
My dear Sir, 

. . . Mr. De Quincey has taken a fit of solitude; I 
have scarcely seen him since Mr. Wilson left us. You 
are very obliging in having taken so much trouble about 
so slight a thing as the sonnet of mine you sent me. It 
is not worth whiJe to tell you by what circuitous channel 
it found its way into The Examiner, a journal which I 
never see, though I have great respect for the talent of 
its editor. In The Champion, another weekly journal, 
have appeared not long since five sonnets of mine, all of 
which are much superior to the one which you have sent 
me. They will form part of a publication which I sent 
to the press three weeks ago, which you have been given 
to understand was a long work, but it is in fact very 
short, not more than seven hundred verses altogether. 
The principal poem is three hundred lines long, a Thanks- 
giving Ode, and the others refer almost exclusively to 
recent public events. The whole may be regarded as a 
sequel to the sonnets dedicated to liberty, and accordingly 
I have given directions for its being printed uniform with 
my poems to admit of its being bound up also with them. 
I have also sent to press a letter in prose, occasioned by 
an intended republication of Dr. Currie's Life of Bums, 
When these little things will be permitted to see the light 


I know not ; and as the publisher has not even conde- 
scended to acknowledge the receipt of the manuscripts, 
which were sent three weeks ago, you may judge from 
this of the value which the goods of the author of The 
Excursion at present bear, in the estimation of the trade. 
N^itnporte; if we have done well, we shall not miss our 
reward. Farewell ! 

Yours faithfully, 

William Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to R, P, Gillies 

Rydal Mount, April 15, 1816. 

. . . Gray failed as a poet, not because he took too much 
pains, and so extinguished his animation, but because he 
had very little of that fiery quality to begin with, and his 
pains were of the wrong sort. He wrote English verses 
as his brother Eton schoolboys wrote Latin, filching a 
phrase now from one author and now from another. I 
do not profess to be a person of very various reading; 
nevertheless, if I were to pluck out of Gray's tail all the 
feathers which I know belong to other birds, he would be 
left very bare indeed. Do not let anybody persuade you 
that any quantity of good verses can be produced by 
mere felicity ; or that an immortal style can be the growth 
of mere genius. " Multa tulit fecitque " ^ must be the motto 
of all those who are to last. There are poems now existing 
which all the world ran after at their first appearance, 
and it will continue to run after their like, that do not 
deserve to be thought of as literary works ; everything in 

1 Horace, De Arte Poetica^ 1. 413. — Ed. 


being merely skin-deep as to thought and feeling, 
uncture or suture of the composition not being a jot 

cunning or more fitted for endurance than the first 
ning together of fig-leaves in Paradise. But I need 
>Tess upon you the necessity of labour, as you have 
ed your conviction upon this subject. . . . Pray 
mber me to the Wilsons most kindly. When does 
Wilson return to Westmoreland? I have not yet 

his City of the Plague; the more the pity, for I 
rel with the title. Tell Mr. Wilson this from me, and 
it the two following quotations : 

But whate'er enjoyments dwell 
In the impenetrable cell 
Of the silent heart which Nature 
Furnishes for every creature ; 
this — 

Cock-a-doodle doc, 
My dame has lost her shoe ; 
My master 's lost his fiddle-stick, 
And knows not what to do ! 


With great regard and esteem, yours, 

William Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to John Scott 

Rydal Mount, Thursday, April i8th, 1816. 
iear Sir, 

. . With very deep concern did I read your account 
Irs. Scott. ... I know not in what situation this 
r may find you ; but if your prospects have bright- 
l, which I pray God they may have done, it will not 


be indifferent to you to be told that these lines are traced 
by the hand of one who will rejoice in your joy ; and if 
sorrow is to be your portion, be assured that under this 
roof there is more than one heart that will feel for you in 
a degree which is rare, where personal intercourse unfor- 
tunately has been so inconsiderable. . . . 

There is such a striking coincidence between your 
opinions and mine, as to all the fundamentals of politics 
and morals, that I do not- think it possible that there can 
really be much difference between us upon the point of 
the merits of the Opposition. The nation is interested in 
this question under two points of view. How are they 
likely to demean themselves while out of place, and, what 
good would they do if inf For my own part, suppos- 
ing the latter event to happen, — which I do not think by 
any means to be desired, — I own that my chief reliance 
would be, not upon their wisdom, but on the salutary 
restraint which a change of situation would impose upon 
their opinions, and in the favourable alteration which 
would be wrought in their passions by the kindly mould- 
ing of new circumstances. . . . Suppose the Opposition 
as a body, or take them in classes, and let your imagina- 
tion carry them in procession through Westminster Hall, 
and thence let them pass into the adjoining Abbey, and 
give them credit for feeling the utmost and best that they 
are capable of feeling in connection with these venerable 
and sacred places, and say frankly whether you would be 
at all satisfied with the result. Imagine them to be look- 
ing from a green hill over a rich landscape, diversified 
with spires and church towers and hamlets, and all the 
happy images of English landscape, would they have 
becoming reverence of the English character? and do 
they value as they ought — and even as their opponents 


do — the constitution of the country, in Church and 
State. . . . But I must stop. Let me only say one word 
upon Lord £. The man is insane; and will probably 
end his career in a mad-house. . . . The verses on his 
private affairs excite in me less indignation than pity. 
The latter copy is the Billingsgate of Bedlam. ..." Sine 
dementia nullus Phcebus " ; but what a difference between 
the amabilis insania of inspiration, and the fiend-like 
exasperation of these wretched productions. It avails 
nothing to attempt to heap up indignation upon the heads 
of those whose talents are extolled in the same breath. 
The true way of dealing with these men is to shew 
that they want genuine power; that talents they have, 
but that these talents are of a mean order; and that 
their productions have no solid basis to rest upon. Allow 
them to be men of high genius, and they have gained 
their point and will go on triumphing. Demonstrate 
them to be what in truth they are — in all essentials, 
dunces — and I will not say that you will reform them ; 
but, by abating their pride, you will strip their wicked- 
ness of the principal charm in their own eyes. . . . 

Affectionately yours, „, „, 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Robert Southey 

Friday, Rydal Mount. 
My dear Friend, 

Miss Hutchinson informs us that both you and Mrs. 
Southey support yourselves under your loss ^ with admi- 
rable fortitude. I need not say what a consolation it is 

^ Southey's son Herbert died on the 17th of April, 18 16. — Ed. 


to me to learn this. You will indeed stand in need of 
resignation and patience, and all the passive virtues. 
These will not desert you, because in your mind they will 
be supported by faith and hope, without whose assist- 
ance I think it utterly impossible for a good man of a 
tender heart to bear up under an affliction so heavy as 

Whether I look back or forward I sorrow for you, but 
I doubt not that in time your retrospective thoughts will 
be converted into sweet though sad pleasures ; and, as to 
your prospective regards in connection with this dear 
child, as they will never stop short of another and a more 
stable world, before them your disappointments will melt 
away ; but they will make themselves felt, as they ought 
to do, since it will be for a salutary purpose. . . . Fare- 
well; and the God of mercy and love sustain you, and 
your partner. Most faithfully and affectionately, 

Your friend and fellow sufferer, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to John Scott 

May 14, [1 8 16.] 
My dear Sir, 

. . . Some years ago I wrote at length upon the sub- 
ject of the military and civil character to Colonel Pasley, 
author of the Essay on the Military Policy of this Island, 
. . . Scientific military establishments, upon a scale pro- 
portioned to the necessary size of our army, are, I thmk, 
indispensable in the present state of Europe. To say 
nothing of the plea of humanity, nothing of national 


reputation for military efficiency, the state of the ^nances 

of the country will not allow us time, in a future war, if 

one should break out, to re-acquire the degree of military 

skill which can alone ensure success, if we should suffer 

our present knowledge to languish for want of due care 

in keeping it up. Poverty would compel us to give in 

long before we had accomplished anything important for 

the relief of the party whose interest we had espoused. 

Unquestionably, if the inevitable consequence of keeping 

up those institutions is to be the impairing of our civil 

energy, let them perish. But I cannot see that this need 

follow. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[Postmark, Kendal.] 
Sunday, 26th May, [1816.] 
My dear Friend, 

. . . Sara Coleridge is much improved in health and 
strength, and is much grown. She is a delightful scholar, 
having so much pleasure in learning. I know no greater 
pleasure than to instruct a girl who is so eager in the 
pursuit of knowledge as she is. Often do we wish that 
Dorothy was like her in this respect, half like her would do 
very well ; for with all Dorothy's idleness, there are many 
parts of her character which are much more interesting 
than corresponding ones in Sara ; therefore, as good and 
evil are always mixed up together, we should be very 
contented with a moderate share of industry, her talents 
being quite enough. But I am perhaps misleading you. 
I have no fault to find with Sara in anything; but yet 
there is a something, which made me make the observation 
— a want of power to interest you — not from anything 


positively amiss, but she wants the wild graces of nature. 
Edith ^ is a delightful girl — scholar good enough — and 
to me very engaging. I hope you got my brother^s Odes^ 
etCy the Letter on Bums, All are gone to church, but 
me. . . . 

William Wordsworth to John, Scott 

Rydal Mount, Tuesday, June ii, [1816.] 
My dear Sir, 

I am only just returned after more than a we.ek's 
absence upon painful and anxious business, which has 
devolved upon me as trustee under the will of my eldest 
brother, recently deceased. He has left an only child, a 
boy sixteen months old, and a widow not twenty-seven 
years, and though his property is considerable, yet the 
affairs are in an intricate and perplexed situation, so that 
much of my time and more of my thoughts will in future 
be taken up by them; and I need scarcely say to you 
that I am wholly inexperienced in things of this kind. 
But to return to your situation and prospects. My best 
wishes will follow you to the Continent, and I shall be 
anxious to hear that your hopes keep their ground and 
strength from the influence of a milder climate. I have 
no doubt that the world will be benefited by your obser- 
vations abroad ; yet in a public point of view I cannot 
but regret your departure from your own country. It 
would give me pleasure could I say that I have any 
acquaintances in the literary world, through whom I 
could hope to aid you in disposing of The Champion, It 
will be very difficult, I fear impossible, to place the work 

1 Edith Southey. — Ed. 


ch hands as would support its present reputation, 
you have resigned the management of it ; and there- 
'. cannot but think you judge well and prudently in 

desirous to sf// the property, rather than entrust it 
editor or partner during your absence. But I have 

single acquaintance except Southey, to whom it 
1 be advisable even to make known your intentions ; 
lere is a disadvantage, as well as an advantage, in 
:ity upon occasions of this sort. . . . The queries 
ut to me upon the connection between genius and 
larity of conduct may probably induce me to take 
5 subject again, and yet it scarcely seems necessary, 
lan can claim indulgence for his transgressions on 
:ore of his sensibilities, but at the expense of his 

for intellectual powers. All men of ^rst rate 
> have been as distinguished for dignity, beauty, 
ropriety of moral conduct. But we often find the 
ies and qualities of the mind not well balanced ; 
hing of prime importance is left short, and hence 
sion and disorder. On the one hand it is well that 
s should not arrogate to themselves a pharisaical 
ority, because they avoid the vices and faults which 
»ee men of talent fall into. They should not be 
tted to believe that they have more understanding 
f on that account, but should be taught that they 
eserved probably by having less feeling, and being 
ijuently less liable to temptation. On the other hand, 
an of genius ought to know that the cause of his 
is, in fact, his deficiencies, and not, as he fondly 
les, his superfluities and superiorities. All men 

to be judged with charity and forbearance after 
has put it out of their power to explain the motives 
ir actions, and especially men of acute sensibility 


and lively passions. This was the scope of my letter to 
Mr. Gray.^ Burns has been cruelly used, both dead and 
alive. The treatment which Butler and others have 
experienced has been renewed in him. He asked for 
bread — no, he did not ask it, he endured the want of it 
with silent fortitude — and ye gave him a stone. It is 
worse than ridiculous to see the people of Dumfries com- 
ing forward with their pompous mausoleum, they who 
persecuted and reviled him with such low-minded malig- 
nity. Burns might have said to that town when he was 
dying, " Ingrata — non possidebis ossa mea ! " * On this 
and a thousand other accounts his monument ought to 
have been placed in or near to Edinburgh ; " stately Edin- 
burgh throned on crags." • How well would such an edi- 
fice have accorded with the pastoral imagery near St 
Anthony's Well and under Arthur's Seat, while the metrop- 
olis of his native country, — to which his writings have 
done so great honour — with its murmuring sounds, was in 
distinct hearing ! . . . 

I must not conclude without a word upon politics. . . . 
I will not at present recur to our military disagreement, 
further than to repeat the expression of my own belief, 
that no danger to the civil liberties of the country — in 
the present state of public information, and with our 
present means of circulating truth — is to be appre- 
hended from such scientific military establishments as 
appear to be eligible. And surely you will allow that 
martial qualities are the natural efflorescence of a healthy 

1 See A Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns (1816). — Ed. 

^ Scipio Africanus (234-183 B.C.) ordered these words to be carved 
on his tomb in Campania ; and Luis de Camoens, the Portuguese 
poet, on leaving his native country, is credited with having said, 
" Ingrata patria, non possidebis ossa mea." — Ed. 

• See The Excursion^ Book IV, 1. 913. — Ed. 


state of society. All great politicians seem to have 
been of this opinion ; in modern times Machiavel, Lord 
Brooke, Sir Philip Sydney, Lord Bacon, Harrington, and 
lastly Milton, whose tractate of education^ never loses 
sight of the means of making man perfect, both for con- 
templation and action, for civil and military duties. But 
you are persuaded that if you take care of our civil privi- 
leges, they will generate all that can be needed of warlike 
excellence ; and here only we differ. My opinion is that 
much of immediate fitness for warlike exploit may co-exist 
with a perfect security of our rights as citizens. Nay, I 
will go farther, and affirm that tendencies to degradation 
in our national chivalry may be counteracted by the 
existence of those capabilities for war in time of peace. 
But this point I do not wish to press. War we shall 
have, and I fear shortly — and alas I we are little fit to 
undertake it. At present there is nothing relating to 
politics, on which I should so much like to converse with 
you, as the conduct which it is desirable that the king of 
France should pursue. The French nation is less fitted 
than any other to be governed by moderation. Nothing 
but heat and passion will have any sway with them. 
Things must pass with them, as they did with us, in the 
first and second Charles's time, from one extreme to the 
other. Something to this effect is thrown out in a late 
number of The Courier ; and I confess I have myself been 
long of that opinion. The reforming Royalists in Charles 
the First's time vanished before the Presbyterians, they 
before the Independents, they before the Army, and the 
Army before Cromwell ; then things ran to the oppoK 
site extreme, with a force not to be resisted. Louis 
the Eighteenth stands as the successor of Cromwell, 

1 0/ Educatiofty to Master Samuel Hartlib, — Ed. 



and not like our Revolution William. The throne of a 
James-the-Second Louis cannot I fear stand, but by the 
support of the passions of an active portion of his sub- 
jects ; and how can such passions be generated but by 
deviation into what a moderate man would call ultra- 
royalist. Justice in the settlement of affairs has been 
cruelly disappointed, and this feeling it is which gives 
strength and a seeming reasonableness to these passions. 
The compromises once were intolerable. ... . 

William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, August 2d, 18 16. 

My dear Sir, 

It gave me much pleasure to see your friend Mr. Cargill, 
though I am sorry to say that his looks and appearance 
were so much altered by delicate not to say bad health 
that I did not at first recollect him. In fact he had found 
himself so far untuned on his arrival at Kendal as to deem 
it advisable to halt there for two days ; and in consequence 
of this consumption of his time he could only spare one 
day for this neighbourhood, being anxious to reach Edin- 
burgh as quickly as possible. I need not say that I found 
his manners and conversation answer the promises of your 
introductory letter, and that I parted from him with regret, 
which was not a little increased by an impression upon my 
mind that rest would have been a better thing for him than 
Edinburgh bustle, or a fatiguing and harassing journey 
among the bad and widely-parted inns of the Highlands. 

The hope of seeing you here is very grateful to me ; 
and upon a supposition that you propose to take some 


pains in seeing the country I will proceed to give you 
directions for doing it to the best advantage. From 
London to Manchester, thence to Lancaster (the castle is 
extremely well worth your notice). At this town, instead 
of proceeding by the coach to Kendal, enquire about the 
best mode of crossing the sands to Ulverston ; a coach 
used to go, but whether it runs now or not, I cannot say. 
Of course you must take care to cross these sands at a 
proper time, or you will run a risk of being drowned, a 
catastrophe to which I would not willingly be instru- 
mental. At Ulverston you will be within seven or eight 
miles of the celebrated abbey of St Mary's, commonly 
called Fumess abbey. These ruins are very striking, and 
in an appropriate situation. If you should think it worth 
while to go and see Furness, the best way would be for 
you and your friend to hire a chaise, as by so doing you 
would preserve your strength, and need only consume 
three hours in the expedition. 

Should you not deem this right (for you would have to go 
and come back by the same way), you will proceed straight 
from Ulverston to Coniston Water, by Penny Bridge where 
there is a decent inn ; and at the head of Coniston Lake 
a very good one, delightfully situated. If so inclined, you 
might pass a whole day very pleasantly there ; the morn- 
ing rowing upon the water, the afternoon walking up and 
through Yew-dale into Tilberthwaite, by a house called the 
Yew-tree, and up a road which will land you near another 
farm-house called Tarn-Haws. At a point in this road 
you will suddenly come upon a fine prospect of Coniston 
Lake, looking down it. From Coniston to Hawkshead. 
At Hawkshead walk up into the churchyard, and notice 
below you the school-house, which has sent forth many 
northern lights, and among others your humble servant. 


From Hawkshead proceed to the ferry-house upon Win- 
dermere, and less than a quarter of a mile before you 
reach it, stop, and put yourself under the guidance of an 
old woman, who will come out to meet you if you sing or 
call for her at a fantastic sort of gateway, an appurtenance 
to a pleasure-house of that celebrated patriot Mr. Curwen, 
called the Station. The Ferry inn is very respectable, and 
that at Bowness excellent. Cross at the ferry, and pro- 
ceed by Bowness up the lake towards Ambleside. You will 
pass Low-wood, an excellent inn also, but here you would 
be within four miles of Rydal Mount, where I shall be 
most happy to see you and furnish you with a bed as long 
as you like ; but I am sorry to say it will not be in my 
power to accommodate your friend, who nevertheless shall 
be welcome for your sake. Hence you will hear from 
this direction I shall do everything in my power to be 
at home when you come ; but many engagements 'have 
devolved upon me in consequence of the lamented death 
of my brother,^ and some I fear are too likely to press 
upon me about the time of your intended visit. 

The road I have chalked out is much the best for com- 
mencing the tour, but few take it The usual way is to 
come on directly to Kendal, but I can assure you that this 
deviation from the common course will amply repay you. 

I am glad that you were pleased with my verses. 
They were poured out with much feeling, but from mis- 
management of myself the labour of making some verbal 
corrections cost me more health and strength than any- 
thing of that sort I ever did before. I have written 
nothing since. As to publishing, I shall give it up, as 
nobody will buy what I send forth ; nor can I expect it, 

^His brother Richard, attorney-at-law, died May 19, 18 16. — Ed. 


seeing what stuff the public appetite is set upon. As to 

your advice about To a Ruin^ that subject we will talk of 

when we meet My whole soul was with those who were 

resolved to fight it out with Buonaparte ; and my heart of 

hearts set against those who had so little confidence in 

the power of justice as to be ready at any moment to 

accept of such a truce, as under the name of peace he 

might condescend to bestow. For the personal character 

of the present mihistry, with the exception of Lord Har- 

rowby, I cannot say to you that I have any high respect, 

but I do conscientiously believe that they have not been 

wanting in efforts to economize, and that the blame of 

unnecessary expenditure rests with the Prince Regent. 

Adieu. ^ . , ^ „ 

Faithfully yours, ,„ „, 

^ ^ W. Wordsworth. 

The ladies under my roof have you in best regards and 

My brother desires me to add that . . . halting at Con- 
iston, and the deviations from the common track, must 
depend upon the length of time which you have to spare. 
I shall be very glad to see you again. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[Postmark, Kendal.] 
Tuesday, 15 th August, 18 16. 
My dear Friend, 

. . . We shall never grow rich; for I now perceive 
clearly that till my dear brother is laid in his grave, his 
writings will not produce any profit. This I now care 


nothing about, and shall never more trouble my head 
concerning the sale of them. I once thought The White 
Doe might have helped off the others ; but I now perceive 
it can hardly help itself. It is a pity it was published in 
so expensive a form, because some are thereby deprived of 
the pleasure of reading it ; but however cheap his poems 
might be, I am sure that it will be very long before they have 
an extensive sale. Nay, it will not be while he is alive to 
know it. God be thanked, William has no mortification 
on this head, and I may safely say that those who are 
most nearly connected with him have not an atom of that 
species of disappointment. We have too rooted a confi- 
dence in the purity of his intentions and the power with 
which they are executed. His writings will live, will com- 
fort the afflicted, and animate the happy to purer happi- 
ness ; when we, and our little cares, are all forgotten.^ . . . 

William Wordsworth to R, P. Gillies 

Rydal Mount, Nov. i6, 1816. 
My dear Sir, 

... If you write more blank verse, pray pay particu- 
lar attention to your versification, especially as to the 
pauses on the first, second, third, eighth, and ninth sylla- 
bles. These pauses should never be introduced for con- 
venience, and not often for the sake of variety merely, 
but for some especial effect of harmony or emphasis. . . . 

I remain, with great respect, most truly yours, 

William Wordsworth. 

1 Compare Wordsworth's letter to Lady Beaamont, May 21, 
1807.— Ed. 


William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 


. . . My verses have all risen up of their own accord. 
I was once requested to write an inscription for a monu- 
ment which a friend proposed to erect in his garden, and 
a year elapsed before I could accomplish it.^ . . . 

1 Wordsworth wrote four ** inscriptions " for the grounds of his 
friend Sir George Beaumont of Coleorton. They were entitled 
(i) In the grounds of Coleorton^ the seat of Sir George Beaumont^ 
Bart.^ Leicestershire ; ("£) In a garden of the same ; (3) Written at the 
request of Sir George Beaumont^ Bart., and in his name, for an urn, 
placed by him at the termination of a newly-planted avenue, in the 
same grounds; (4) For a seat in the Groves of Coleorton, It is to the 
third that he refers in the above letter. It was composed in 1808. 
He spent the winter of 1806-7 at Coleorton farm-house. See the 
Eversley edition of his poems, Vol. IV, pp. 74-82. — Ed. 



William Wordsworth to Daniel Stuart 

Rydal Mount, April 7, 181 7. 
My dear Sir, 

... I am, like you, an alarmist, and for this reason. 
I see clearly that the principal ties which kept the differ- 
ent classes of society in a vital and harmonious depend- 
ence upon each other have, within these thirty years, 
either been greatly impaired or wholly dissolved. Every- 
thing has been put up to market and sold for the highest 
price it would buy. Farmers used formerly to be attached 
to their landlords, and labourers to their farmers who 
employed them. All that kind of feeling has vanished. 
In like manner, the connexion between the trading and 
landed interests of country towns undergoes no modifi- 
cation whatever from personal feeling, whereas within my 
memory it was almost wholly governed by it. A country 
squire, or substantial yeoman, used formerly to resort to 
the same shops which his father had frequented before 
him, and nothing but a serious injury, real or supposed, 
would have appeared to him a justification for breaking 
up a connexion which was attended with substantial 
amity and interchanges of hospitality from generation 
to generation. All this moral cement is dissolved ; habits 
and prejudices are broken and rooted up, nothing being 


substituted in their place but a quickened self-interest, 
with more extensive views and wider dependencies, but 
more lax in proportion as they are wider. The ministry 
will do well if they keep things quiet for the present, but 
if our present constitution in church and state is to last, 
it must rest as heretofore upon a moral basis ; and they 
who govern the country must be something superior to 
mere financiers and political economists. Farewell. 

Very faithfully yours, „, „, 

^ "^ "^ W. Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Sunday, April 13th, 181 7. 
My dear Friend, 

. . . To-day he (William) has composed a sonnet ; and 
in our inner minds we sing " Oh ! be joyful ! " It has 
indeed been most melancholy to see him bowed down by 
oppressive cares, which have fallen upon him through 
mismanagement, dilatoriness, or negligence. Alas ! that 
is the truth. Nothing can exceed the apathy which our 
poor deceased brother ^ must have lived in, nor his irreso- 
lution and weakness. Southey is going upon the Conti- 
nent, and William has had a strong desire to go with him ; 
but he has now given it up ; for there are certain points 
pending in Richard's affairs, which might remain longer 
unsettled, if he were absent. I wish he could* have gone. 
... I believe he will go next year, if we live and are 
well. What do you think of your friend William Smith's 

1 Richard Wordsworth. — Ed. 


attack upon Southey ? ^ The publishing of the pamphlet ; 
was an infamous thing; but neither that, nor the tri- : 
umphs of the malignant, can do him harm. If I were in ^ 
Southey's place, I would be far more afraid of my inju- 
dicious defenders than my open enemies. Coleridge, for 
instance, has taken up the cudgels ; and of injudicious 
defenders he is surely the master leader. If you do not see 
The Courier regularly, I hope you may be able to borrow 
those for the last four or five weeks, and you will see what 
Coleridge has written. He does nothing in simplicity, and 
his praise is to me quite disgusting, — his praise of the 
"man" Southey in contradistinction to the "boy" who 
wrote " Wat Tyler." I am very glad that Southey is going 
abroad. He works so hard, and looks so delicate, that one 
cannot see him without anxious thoughts ; and, resolute as 
he is, he will for ever feel his bitter loss. It comes on him 
keenly at times. . . . 


William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers ^ 

Rydal Mount, May 13, 181 7. 

... I presume you are in a state of earthly existence, 
as I have heard nothing to the contrary since we parted 

1 Mr. William Smith, liberal M.P. for Norwich, published in 1817 
a poem which Southey had written in his young manhood, twenty- 
three years before, and which had passed into other hands, and been 
forgotten by its author. This poem, " Wat Tyler," — written when 
Southey was a youthful republican, — was now published without his 
knowledge, and the author represented as a renegade, and worse. 
Southey, for once in his life, condescended to reply to his calumni- 
ator, in A Letter to William Smithy Esq, ; while Coleridge defended 
his friend in The Courier. — Ed. 

2 See The Early Life of Samuel Rogers (1887), and Rogers and 
His Contemporaries (1889), by P. W. Clayden. — Ed. 


in a shower near the turnpike gate of Keswick. Need I 
add that I hope and wish that you may be well ? In the 
former part of this sentence you may have divined there 
lurks a charitable reproach ; for you left me with some 
reason to expect that I should hear of, from, or about you. 
Though this favour has not been granted, I am not dis- 
couraged from asking another, the exact amount of which I 
am unable to calculate. A friend of mine, a near relation 
of Mrs. Wordsworth, is smitten with a desire of seeing the 
pictures brought together by the members of the British 
lostitution, and exhibited in the evening. I feel I have 
expressed my meaning cumbrously and ill. He greatly 
wishes to attend in the evening and has applied to me 
to procure him a ticket, for one night, if I conveniently 
caiL Is it in your power to enable me to gratify this 
laudable ambition in a worthy person ? Having come to 
the point, I have only to add that his address is, Thomas 
Monkhouse, Esq., 28 St. Anne'^' Street ; and could you 
enclose him a ticket, I shall be most thankful. 
Are we to see you among us this summer ? I hope so 

— and also that Sharp ^ will not desert us. How is he in 
health, and what does he say of Switzerland and Italy, 
both in themselves, and as compared with the scenes in 
our neighbourhood, which he knows so well ? Is George 
Philips as great an orator as ever, and do you and Dante 
continue as intimate as heretofore ? He used to avenge 
himself upon his enemies by placing them in h — 11,^ a 
thing bards seem very fond of attempting in this day, 

— witness the laureate's mode of treating Mr. W. '^ith.* 
You keep out of these scrapes, I suppose. Why don't 

^ Richard Sharp, ** Conversation Sharp," as he used to be called 

his friends. — Ed. 

* Sec text and note at page 98. — Ed. 

rj -' 


you hire somebody to abuse you? and the higher the 
place selected for the purpose the better. For myself, I 
begin to fear that I should soon be forgotten, if it were 
not for my enemies. Yet, now and then, a humble 
admirer presents himself, in some cases following up his 
introduction with a petition. The other day I had a 
letter of this sort from a poetical, not a personal, friend 
— a Quaker of the name of Barton* living at Wood- 
bridge, in Suffolk. He has beguiled me of a guinea, the 
promise of one at least, by way of subscription to a quarto 
volume of poems, which he is anxious to print, partly for 
honour, partly for profit. He solicits my interest to pro- 
mote his views. I state the fact ; I do not beg. I have 
not sufficient grounds to go upon. I leave the affair to 
the decision of your own mind, only do not contemn me 
for abusing. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Daniel Stuart 

Rydal Mount, June 22, 18 17. 
My dear Sir, 

. . . Your lot is now cast in a fair land, and both 

yourself and your posterity will, I trust, feel the benefit 

Your purchase, which is at a right distance from the 

metropolis, is, both as to quantity and quality, I think, 

very judicious. In everything, especially in land, it is of 

consequence to have good stuff in little room. Buying a 

large tract of inferior soil, or waste, with a view to reclaim 

1 Bernard Barton (i 784-1 849), the Quaker poet, and a special 
friend of Charles Lamb, published in 18 18 The Convicfs Appeal 
and Poems by an Amateur^ and in 1822 Verses on the Death of 
P, B, Shelley, — ^di. 


it, though flattering to the fancy, is an expedient which 
within the last few years has ruined persons with more 
certainty than any other sort of speculation. . . . 

There is a maxim laid down in my tract on the Con- 
vention of Cintra which ought never to be lost sight of. 
It is expressed, I believe, nearly in the following words : 
"There is, in fact, an unconquerable tendency in all 
power, save that of knowledge, acting by and through 
knowledge, to injure the mind of him by whom that power 
is exercised." . . . 

If I had access to a cabinet minister, I would put 
these questions. Do you think that the fear of the law, 
and mere selfish or personal calculations as to profit or 
loss, in the matter of property or condition, are sufficient 
to keep a numerous people in due subordination ? " No." 
What loss has the country sustained, within these last 
twenty or thirty years, of those habits, sentiments, and 
dispositions, which lend a collateral support, in the way 
of buttresses, of equal importance for the preservation of 
the edifice with the foundation itself ? If the old props 
have been shaken or destroyed, have adequate new ones 
been substituted ? A discerning answer to these queries 
would be the picture of danger, and nothing else can lead 
to a just consideration of the means by which it is to 
be lessened. Farewell. . . , 

Best regards to Mrs. Stuart, and believe me, 

Faithfully yours, „, „, 

^ ^ ^ W. Wordsworth. 



William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, June 24, 18 17. 
My dear Sir, 

Dr. Chalmers, of whom, notwithstanding his celebrity, 
I had never heard (which occasioned me to address him 
by the name of Dr. Campbell, a most unlucky blunder), 
delivered your letter ; and I gave him meet directions for 
seeing this country, as best suited with the time at his dis- 
posal. His friend mentioned by you was not with him. 
I duly received your former letter, I mean in due course 
of post ; for as to other obligation^ if I may use so bold a 
word, it came like a bad debt, unexpectedly recovered ! 
(A man of business is speaking to a lawyer; you will 
therefore excuse the metaphor.) 

How came you to quarrel with Furness Abbey ? Youi 
old enemy, bad weather, must have persecuted you into 
bad humour, which — powerful as your foe is — I think 
he would find some difficulty in effecting. Furness Abbej 
presents some grand points of view, which you musi 
have missed. The architecture never seems to have 
been so highly embellished as might have been expected 
from the princely power and revenues of the community 
which erected it. This I allow, and it is dilapidated fai 
beyond the point where entireness may advantageously be 
seen, wherein the gratifications of the eye and the imagi- 
nation meet each in their utmost perfection. But after 
all why not be thankful for what has been done, and 
yet remains t How unlucky you were I We have had 
less rain during the last eleven or twelve weeks than the 
average of as many hours taken for the time you were 


among us. It has been a cold spring, but bright and 
beautiful ; and we are now in the old golden glorious sum- 
mer days ; the little com that we have in the neighbor- 
hood, and the grass, growing as fast as in Russia or 
Finland. Yesterday Mrs. Wordsworth and myself were 
on the top of Helvellyn, my second visit within these 
last three weeks. The former was with my sister ; we 
returned over its summit from Patterdale where we had 
been staying a few days. I describe nothing of their 
appearances in prose. You will hear of them at some 
future time in verse. 

In a fortnight or three weeks I visit Mr, Stanley of 
Ponsonby, a mile from Calder Abbey, your favourite. I 
have invited Mr. Hutton to meet me at Ravenglass, and 
be assured the place shall receive a few ill names from 
me (on your behalf) if it does not make amends fdr past 
offences by putting on its best looks. 

I hope you will see Mr. Southey on his return, for 
news of which I am beginning to look and indeed to long. 
He went away with a wish to purchase the house he 
occupies at Keswick. It is advertised for sale on the 
tenth, I believe, of next month. His letter, quoad Mr. 
Wm. Smith,^ is I think completely to the point ; but I am 
not satisfied with his statement of his own opinions and 
his delineation of the course which he wishes to be pur- 
sued. It is too hastily executed, and wants some pass- 
ages of searching admonition to ministers, both for their 
benefit, and to blunt the force of a charge which his 
enemies will bring against the author, of being too obse- 
quious to the throne, the aristocracy, and persons in 
office or in place ; the charge of being a tool of power ^ 

* See page 98. — Ed. 


a most false and foul accusation, for a more disinter- 
ested and honourable man than Robert Southey does 
not breathe. Does Mr. Smith expect that even his per- 
sonal and party friends will in their conscience believe 
true whatever they may profess, when he states, as he did 

in the that he did not censure a change of view 

but the virulence with which they were now reproached 
who continue to think as their present preacher himself 
had formerly done. How came he then to use the word 
"renegade"? The practice, to which he pretends his 
censure was^ confined, is far from entering of necessity 
into the meaning of that word. The act of change is 
stigmatized by the word, which comes from a deserter of 
Christianity for Mohammedanism, which Christians can- 
not admit a possibility of, from other than a bad motive, 
or a vicious impulse. Farewell. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

June 24, 18 1 7. 

... I have not seen Southey's article in the last Q. R.,* 
nor Mr. Moore's ugly named poem,^ nor Lord B.'s tragedy,' 
nor his last canto of Childe Harold^ where I am told he 
has been poaching on my manor, nor any one new thing 
whatever, except a bust of myself. Some kind person — 
which persons mostly unknown to me are — has been good 
enough to forward me this. Truly yours, 

W. W. 

1 Quarterly Review. — Ed. 

2 Doubtless Lcdla Rookh. — Ed. 
» Probably Manfred. — Ed. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Marshall 

Wednesday, 25th June. 

. . . When on our way home I viewed from the top of 
Helvellyn the fields of Shelly Nab, and the dwellings of 
Hallsteads, and the old church. We viewed the masses 

of snow with particular attention, which daily watches 

in their decay from the shores of Ullswater, and my 

brother made a bold push to procure some of that very 

snow for our refreshment ; but he could not accomplish 

it. ... I never walked with more spirit in my life than 

on the lofty terraces of Helvellyn. . . . How do you like 

this very hot weather? It is of the right old-fashioned 

kind, and pleases me well. I hope that before the very 

fine weather is gone, you may be all enjoying the luxury 

of floating upon still waters in long summer evenings. 

Nothing can exceed the glory of Ullswater at such a time. 

There is now a refreshing breeze, and, if it continues, we 

intend to stroll down the meadows to Windermere, and 

shall take a boat to Low-wood, for the sake of the sunset 

in the Langdale mountains, — a spectacle I have often 

beard you speak of with delight. . . . 


William Wordsworth to Daniel Stuart 

%\ Rydal Mount, Saturday, September 7, 181 7. 

Dear Sir, 

... I am decisively of opinion that a public school 
is the proper place of education for a lawyer, I know 


several eminent English lawyers distinguished for their 

knowledge of law, as , who most probably would have 

been equally distinguished for their happy manner of dis- 
playing it in a court of justice, if they had fortunately 
been educated in public schools, but, not having had that 
discipline, they are obliged to keep their candle hidden 
under a bushel. Sh)mess, reserve, awkwardness, want of 
self-possession, embarrassment, encumbered expression, 
hesitation in speaking, etc., etc., are sad impediments to 
an advocate ; and the best way of obviating all this is to 
place a lad under the necessity of encountering the shock 
he will every moment meet with, in those seminaries. . . . 
What then do I advise ? That your protigk should be 
immediately examined, in Latin and Greek, by some 
competent person who has been himself distinguished at 
one of the universities, for his knowledge of classics, and 
educated at one of the public schools; and, if he find 
him well grounded and practised in construing and com- 
position, and deems him so far advanced that he can be 
sent to one of our great public schools with a prospect of 
benefiting in those studies, that is, without its being 
probable that he would be thrown back materially by the 
necessity of learning a new set of syntax rules, or other 
things of that sort, that then he should proceed forthwith 
to such schools for the ensuing year, and be admitted at 
Trinity College, Cambridge, next commencement to reside 
in October following. I advise Cambridge in preference 
to Oxford, because at Cambridge he will have stronger 
incitements and inducements to apply to mathematics; 
and, if he is able to fix his attention so far as to make a 
progress in those sciences, the assiduity and steady appli- 
cation of the thoughts requisite for success in law will 
not be more than he will find himself already prepared 


for. I recommend Trinity College in preference to any 
other, because it is a more liberal foundation. . . . 

I remain very truly yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Rydal Mount, October i6th, [18 17.] 
My dear Friend, 

. . . Derwent Coleridge is going to his father, in Lon- 
don. I cannot see any good that can possibly arise from 
this, unless it forces his father to exert himself to put 
the boy forward, or forces him to confess openly that he 
cannot do anything ; which will at least compel him to per- 
ceive that he and his children have had and have friends, 
ill as he thinks he has been used in the world. . . . William 
has sat for his picture,^ written a few small poems, en- 
tertained company, enjoyed the country, and paid some 
visits, and so his summer has been passed. He intends 
to work hard at The Recluse in winter. ... 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Marshall 


. . . Sir George and Lady Beaumont returned from 
Hallsteads, inexpressibly delighted with the hospitality 
and kindness which they had met with under your roof. 
They were never weary of talking of the kindness of one 

1 The portrait by Richard Camithers. — Ed. 


and all. . . . All the Wilberforces intend to leave Rydal to- 
morrow. There never lived on earth, I am sure, a man 
of sweeter temper than Mr. Wilberforce. He is made up 
of benevolence and loving-kindness; and, though shat- 
tered in constitution, and feeble in body, he is as lively 
and animated as in the days of his youth.^ His children 
very much resemble him in ardour and liveliness of 
mind. . . . 

William Wordsworth to R. P. Gillies 

Rydal Mount [date wanting], 1817. 
My dear Sir, 

I am unworthy of the many acts of kind attention you 
bestow on me. I know nothing of the treatise of Wieland, 
which you inquired after, or I should have written imme- 
diately on receipt of your letter. ... 

But how could you write, " at every step the scenery 
seemed improving"? This is a thoroughly bad verse; 
bad even for prose. . . . Your essay is desultory enough. 
Of the soundness of the opinions it becomes me not 
to judge. The famous passage on solitude, which you 
quote from Lord Byron,^ does not deserve the notice 
which has been bestowed on it. As composition it is 
bad, particularly the line, 

Minions of grandeur shrinking from distress 

1 The Wordsworths ascended Scawfell on this occasion with the 
Beaumonts and Wilberforces. — Ed. 

2 The line occurs in Childe HarolcTs Pilgrimage^ Canto II» 
stanza xxvi, 1. 5. — Ed. 



is foisted in for the sake of the rhyme. But the senti- 
ment by being expressed in an antithetic manner is taken 
out of the region of high and imaginative feeling to be 
placed in that of point and epigram. To illustrate my 
meaning, and for no other purpose, I refer to my own 
lines on the Wye, where you will find the same sentiment 
not formally put as it is here, but ejaculated, as it were, 
fortuitously in the musical succession of preconceived 
feeling. Compare the paragraph ending 

How often has my spirit turned to thee, 

and the one where occur the lines 

And greetings where no kindness is, and all 
The dreary intercourse of daily life, 

with these lines of Lord Byron, and you will perceive the 
difference. You will give me credit for writing for the 
sake of truth, and not for so disgusting a motive as self- 
commendation at the expense of a man of genius. . . . 

Most faithfully yours, 

William Wordsworth. 



William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

January 3d, 18 18. 

... If property, situation in life, character, etc., could 
ensure success, our triumph would be complete. But 
every man of weight overrates his own importance till it 
is fairly tried; and this even seems as much owing to 
want of reflection as to personal vanity. Our indolence 
bribes us also into a belief that ordinary influences are 
equal to extraordinary occasions ; and we trust accord- 
ingly to passive qualities and circumstances, when every 
nerve ought to be strained and every power put into 
action. But this, of which I see instances on every side 
of me, would be better said to the public. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Jan. 21, 1818. 

. . . What else but the stability and might of a large 
estate, with proportional influence in the House of Com- 
mons, can counterbalance the democratic activity of the 
wealthy, commercial, and manufacturing districts ? It 
appears to a superficial observer, warm from contemplating 


the theory of the Constitution, that the political power of 
the great landholders ought, by every true lover of his 
country, to be strenuously resisted; but I would ask a 
well-intentioned native of Westmoreland or Cumberland, 
who had fallen into this mistake, if he could point to any 
arrangement by which Jacobinism can be frustrated except 
by the existence of large estates continued from genera- 
tion to generation in particular families, and parliamen- 
tary power in proportion. 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

loth Feb., 1818. 

. . . Not to exclude or give offence to dissenters, who 
are very powerful in Kendal, I recommended " King and 
Constitution," in preference to " Church and King," as 
the latter part of the Lowther motto. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

i2th Feb., 1818. 

This week I have addressed two letters, signed "A 
Friend to Truth," to the editor of The Chronicle^ which if 
he inserts, I shall have some hope of him. If he does 
not, I shall publish them elsewhere. 

... I wish much for your opinion as to the propriety 
of precautionary measures in augmenting the numbers 
of trustworthy freeholders. An offer has been made to 
Oie of an estate which would divide into twelve small 


freeholds; and, with your Lordship's sanction, I would 
purchase it, being able to reckon on as many persons,— 
gentlemen, my friends and relations, — who could be 
depended upon. If it be found that your adversaries 
adopt the plan of increasing the numbers in their inter- 
est, it will be necessary to keep pace with them, and I 
don't think that the matter can be safely left to casual- 

Lies* • • • 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Thomas Monkhouse 

Kendal, March 3d, 18 18. 
My dear Friend, 

Knowing that you do not grudge a shilling that pays 
for tidings of old friends, and that if you can get a little 
sound good-government doctrine into the bargain, you 
will think the shilling well bestowed, I send you this 
paper ;^ which I think you will say is pretty well done. 
There is nothing comes out on the other side of the ques- 
tion worth reading, though every day brings out some- 
thing fresh on both sides. The Broughamites evidently 
abate in their hopes, and the opposite party has well 
grounded hopes of success ; but the misguided mob, 
including almost all of the lower classes who have no 
votes, cry aloud for Brougham, expecting that if he is but 
returned for Westmoreland, meal will be reduced to fifteen 
shillings a load. So they cry out ! and no lady would 
venture to appear in a yellow ribband in Kendal streets, 
though you cannot walk thirty yards without meeting a 

1 This letter was written on a copy of the broad-sheet, To the 
Freeholders of Westmoreland^ by a freeholder, February 28, 18 18. 
— Ed. 



dirty lad or lass with a blue one I ^ and the ladies of that 
party also have no fear of displa3dng their colour. 

I am detained at Kendal by bad weather. I came in 
the coach on Thursday, and shall return upon Neddy 
to-morrow, if the day be fine. All are well at home. We 
often wish you had a vote to bring you down at the elec- 
tion. H. Brougham is expected about Easter, when it is 
much to be feared that there will be fresh disturbances. 

I am called to dinner, so excuse this scrawl, and if you 
put this paper into any one's hands, pray erase all my 
scrawling. God bless you ! 

Ever your affectionate, _ .,. 

JJ. W. 

I should have sent you the last Kendal paper, but it 
contained nothing but the London tavern dinner and 
some villainous writing in which there was no sense, on 
the other side. 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

March 10, 181 8. 

. . . The rural stamina of this outbreak are misguided 
good intention, party spirit, dissent, disaffection, envy, 
pride, and all the self-conceited pretensions which absurd 
ignorance can be incited to by headstrong reformers and 
revolutionists. ... 

1 The respective Tory and Whig colours. — Ed. 



Willtam Wordsworth to Daniel Stuart 

Rydal Mount, March, 1818. 
Dear Sir, 

. . . The sum of my opinion is that, if I had strong 
reasons for believing my son would apply to the law, I 
should send him to college at seventeen. If I thought 
he must be obliged to take up with the Church, I should 
not send him till nineteen, unless I knew that he was so 
far advanced in his studies as to encourage a strong per- 
suasion in me that he would distinguish himself, even if 
sent at seventeen. As to his college, the advantages of 
a large college are, that he may choose his company, and 
is more likely to be roused by emulation ; and the public 
lectures are more likely to be good, and everything car- 
ried forward with more spirit. The disadvantages arc 
that, seeing so many clever men and able scholars, he 
may be disheartened, and throw up in disgust or despah*. 
Also, much more distinction is required to obtain a fellow- 
ship among so many competitors. But it very often hap 
pens that distinguished men educated in large colleges, 
when there are not fellowships for them there, are elected 
into small colleges^ which happen to be destitute of persons 
properly qualified. The chief advantages in a small college 
are the much greater likelihood of procuring rooms, and, 
in the end, college patronage ; but there is danger of 
getting into lounging ways from h€vci% forced among idle 
people, and the public lectures are rarely carried on with 
such spirit. . . . But there cannot be a doubt but that 
the noblest field for an ambitious, industrious, properly 
qualified, and clever youth is Trinity College. . . . 

Ever yours, ^ ^ 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Rydal Mount, April 6, 181 8. 

[He refers to the pamphlet he had written, — the Two 
Addresses to the Freeholders in Westmoreland^ — and asks 
Lord Lonsdale's opinion as to whether it could be put 
into general circulation.] My object in writing this work 
was to give the rationale of the question, for the consid- 
eration of the upper ranks of society, in language of 
appropriate dignity. It shall be followed up with brief 
essays, in plain and popular language, illustrating the 
principles in detail, for the understanding of the lower 


William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

Rydal Mount, October 6, 181 8. 

... I have ascertained that the paper containing that 
infamous letter signed " Birch" has been sent to differ- 
ent persons of the Lowther party. This is a vile course. 
Two rules we ought to lay down; never to retort by 
attacking private character, and never to notice the par- 
Hculars of a personal calumny, or any allegation of a per- 
sonal nature proceeding from an anonymous quarter. We 
ought to content ourselves by protesting in the strongest 
terms against the practice, and pointing it out to indig&a- 
tion and contempt. . . . 

^ It was printed at Kendal by King and Bellingham in 18 18. — £d. 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

28th November, 18 18. 

Looking at this subject generally, I cannot but be of 
opinion that the feudal power yet surviving in England is 
eminently serviceable in counteracting the popular tend- 
ency to reform, which would unavoidably lead to pecu- 
lations. The people are already powerful far beyond the 
increase of their information, and their improvement in 
morals. . . . 


William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

Dec. 8th, 1818. 

. . . Our opponents are very active in procuring free- 
holds, so much so that we must exert ourselves with the 
view of preserving the balance. This necessity is much 
to be regretted, — but it to me is so obvious that I pur- 
chased the other day a freehold estate in Langdale, which 
will divide into seven parts. Of these five are»already 
disposed of, one to Mr. Gee, and the other four to my 
own relations. . . . 




Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Tuesday, 12th January, [181 9.] 

... I resolved to put off writing till to-morrow, when I 
recollected that to-morrow I am engaged to go with a 
party of young ones to visit Betty Yewdale in Langdale, 
the good woman recorded in The Excursion^ who received 
the pedlar in her cottage and walked backwards and for- 
wards with her light upon the hill to direct her husband's 
homeward steps from the quarry.* . . . 

Mrs. Coleridge is here, with Sara and Edith, — two 
sweet girls, — and you may be sure we have mirth and 
merriment enough, with such jinglings of the pianoforte as 
would tire any but very patient people. We had a grand 
ball last Thursday. The house turned inside out Ball- 
room decorated with evergreens, a happy employment 
with hard labour for the girls. Two whole mornings 
were so engaged, and who should come in unexpectedly 
but Dr. Bell ! The lasses' friend, he was detained for 
the ball, and only left us yesterday. He tutored Miss 
Dowling, carried his girls with D. to form a class, visited 
the trinket shop, spent four guineas for them, and left 
every one a guinea at parting ! . . . Hartley has done 
excellently at Oxford, has had high compliments from his 

1 See The Excursion^ Book V, 11. 728-771. — Ed. 


tutor, is now with his father, writes thoughtfully, resolves 
to do his utmost on the beaten road, has got the promise 
of two pupils. We have great hopes that Derwent will 
get to one of the universities; but it is not yet so far 
settled that I can say an3rthing further than that Grosve- 
nor Lloyd has offered to allow him ;^3o per annum out 
of his living. This is noble and affecting, and his mother 
rejoices at it. She, poor woman, is at Birmingham strug- 
gling with law-suits and family quarrels, — her husband 
at Ambleside in a wretched state. . . . William has 
written some beautiful sonnets lately. That is all he 
has done. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

January 13 th, 1819.^ 

... I wish I could add that I feel myself properly 
qualified for the undertaking, and that I could get rid of 
those apprehensions, which they who know me better than 
I know myself are perpetually forcing upon me, — viz. that 
my literary exertions will suffer more than I am aware of 
from this engagement. They ground their opinion upon 
an infirmity of which I am conscious, viz., that whatever 
pursuit I direct my attention to is apt to occupy my mind 
too exclusively. But ... I am anxious to discharge my 
obligations to society. . . . 

^ Wordsworth^s name had been placed on the list of the Commis* 
sioners of the Peace for Westmoreland. — £d. 



William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Feb. s, 1819. 
. , . We seem pretty much of opinion upon the subject 
of rhyme. Pentameters, where the sense has a close of 
some sort at eVery two lines, may be rendered in regu- 
larly closed couplets ; but hexameters (especially the Vir- 
gilian, that run the lines into each other for a great 
length) cannot. I have long been persuaded that Milton 
formed bis blank verse upon the model of the Georgics 
and the ^neid, and I am so much struck with this resem- 
blance that I should have attempted Virgil in blank 
verse, had I not been persuaded that no ancient author 
can be with advantage so rendered. Their religion, their 
warfare, their course of action and feeling are too remote 
from modem Interest to allow it We require every pos- 
sible help and attraction of sound, in our language, to 
smooth the way for the admission of things so remote 
from our present concerns. My own notion of transla- 
tion is that it cannot be too literal, provided three faults 
be avoided : first, baldness, in which I include all that 
takes from dignity ; second, strangeness, or uttcouihness, 
including harshness ; third, attempts to convey meanings 
which, as they cannot be given but by languid circumlocu- 
tions, cannot in fact be said to be given at all, I will 
trouble you with an instance in which I fear this fault 
exists. Virgil, describing jEneas's voyage, third book, 
verse 551, says, 

Hinc sinua Herculei, si vera est fama, Tarenti 


I render it thus : 

Hence we behold the bay that bears the name 
Of proud Tarentum, proud to share the fame 
Of Hercules, though by a dubious claim. 

I was unable to get the meaning with tolerable harmony 
into fewer words, which are more than to a modern 
reader, perhaps, it is worth. 

I feel much at a loss, without the assistance of the 
marks which I have requested, to take an exact measure 
of your lordship's feelings with regard to the diction. 
To save you the trouble of reference, I will transcribe 
two passages from Dryden, — first the celebrated appear- 
ance of Hector's ghost to ^neas. ^neas thus addresses 

O light of Trojans and support of Troy, 
Thy father's champion, and thy country's joy, 
O long expected by thy friends, from whence 
Art thou returned, so late for our defence ? 

Do we behold thee, wearied as we are 

With length of labours and with toils of war ? 

After so many funerals of thy own. 

Art thou restored to thy declining town ? 

This I think not an unfavourable specimen of Dryden's 
way of treating the solemnly pathetic passages. Yet 
surely there is nothing of the cadence of the original, and 
little of its spirit The second verse is not in the origi- 
nal, and ought not to have been in Dryden ; for it antici- 
pates the beautiful hemistich, 

Sat patriae Priamoque datum. 


By the by, there is the same sort of anticipation in a 
spirited and harmonious couplet preceding : 

Such as he was when by Pelides slain 
Thessalian coursers dragged him o'er the plain. 

This introduction of Pelides here is not in Virgil, because 
it would have prevented the effect of 

Redit exuvias indutus Achillei. 

There is a striking solemnity in the answer of Pantheus 
to iEneas : 

Venit summa dies et ineluctabile tempus 
, Dardaniae : fuimus Trees, fuit Ilium, et ingens 
Gloria Teucrorum, etc. 

Dryden thus gives it : 

Then Pantheus, with a groan, 
Troy is no more, and Ilium was a town. 
The fatal day, the appointed hour is come 
When wrathful Jove's irrevocable doom 
Transfers the Trojan state to Grecian hands. 
The fire consumes the town, the foe commands. 

My own translation runs thus ; and I quote it because 
it occurred to my mind immediately on reading your 
lordship's observations : 

'T is come, the final hour, 
Th' inevitable close of Dardan power 
Hath come ! we have been Trojans, Ilium was 
And the great name of Troy ; now all things pass 
To Argos. So wills angry Jupiter, 
Amid the burning town the Grecians domineer. 

I cannot say that "we have been," and " Ilium a/aj," are 
as sonorous sounds as " fuimus'* and "fuit"; but these 


latter must have been as familiar to the Romans as the 
former to ourselves. I should much like to know if your 
Lordship disapproves of my translation here. I have one 
word to say upon ornament. It was my wish and labour 
that my translation should have far more of the genuine 
ornaments of Virgil than my predecessors. Dryden has 
been very careful of these, and profuse of his own, which 
seem to me very rarely to harmonise with those of Virgil; 
as, for example, describing Hector's appearance in the 
passage above alluded to, 

A bloody shroud^ he seemed, and bathed in tears. 
I wept to see the visionary man. 


And all the wounds he for his country bore 
Now streamed afresh, and with new purple ran, 

I feel it, however, to be too probable that my translation 
is deficient in ornament, because I must unavoidably have 
lost many of Virgil's, and have never without reluctance 
attempted a compensation of my own. Had I taken the 
liberties of my predecessors, Dryden especially, I could 
have translated nine books with the labour that three have 
cost me. The third book, being of a humbler character 
than either of the former, I have treated with rather less 
scrupulous apprehension, and have interwoven a little of 
my own; and, with permission, I will send it, ere long, 
for the benefit of your Lordship's observations, which 
really will be of great service to me if I proceed. Had I 
begun the work fifteen years ago, I should have finished 
it with pleasure ; at present, I fear it will take more time 
than I either can or ought to spare. I do not think of 
going beyond the fourth book. . . . 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

CoLEORTON Hall, 17th February, 18 19. 

I began my translation by accident. I continued it, 
with a hope to produce a work which would be to a cer- 
tain degree affecting, which Dryden's is not to me in the 
least Dr. Johnson has justly remarked that Dry den had 
little talent for the pathetic, and the tenderness of Virgil 
seems to me to escape him. Virgil's style is an inimitable 
mixture of the elaborately ornate and the majestically plain 
and touching. The former quality is much more difficult 
to reach than the latter, in which whosoever fails must 
fail through want of ability, and not through the imper- 
fections of our language. 

In my last I troubled you with a quotation from my 
own translation, in which I found a failure — "fuimus 
Troes," etc., "we have been Trojans," etc. It struck me 
afterwards that I might have found still stronger instances. 
At the close of the first book Dido is described as ask- 
ing several questions of Venus, 

Nunc, quales Diomedis equi, nunc quantus Achilles, 

which Dryden translates very nearly, I think, thus, 

The steeds of Diomede varied the discourse, etc. 

My own translation is probably as faulty upon another 
principle : 

Of Hector asked if Priam o'er and o'er, 
What arms the son of bright Aurora wore, 
What horses there of Diomede, had great 
Achilles — but, O Queen, the whole relate. 





These two lines will be deemed, I apprehend, hard and 
bald. So true is Horace's remark, ** in vitium ducet culpse 
fuga," etc. 


William Wordsworth to Francis Wrangham " 

Rydal Mount, February 19th, 18 19. 
Dear Wrangham, 

I received your kind letter last night, for which you 
will accept my thanks. I write upon the spur of that 
mark of your regard — or my aversion to letter-writing 
might get the better of me. Rogers read me his poem^ i 
when I was in town about twelve months ago ; but I j 
have heard nothing of it since. It contained some very 
pleasing passages, but the title is much too grandilo- 
quent for the performance, and the plan appeared to me 
faulty. I know little of Blackwood* s Magazine, and wish 
to know less. I have seen in it articles so infamous that . 
I do not choose to let it enter my doors. The publisher 
sent it to me some time ago, and I begged (civilly you 
will take for granted) not to be troubled with it any 
longer. Except now and then, when Southey accommo- j 
dates me, I see no new books whatever, so that of course | 
I know nothing of Miss Aikin's Queen Elizabeth} I 
blight to have mentioned that the three sonnets advertised 
in Blackwood* s Magazine as from my pen were truly so, but 
they were not of my sending. 

1 Rogers' Human Life^ a Poem, was published in London in 1819- 
— Ed. 

* Lucy Aikin, author of Memoirs of the Court of Queen Eliualxth 
(1818). — Ed. 



I am glad to hear you are engaged with Dr. Zouch. I 
find it difficult to speak publicly of good men while alive, 
especially if they are persons who have power; the 
world ascribes the eulogy to interested motives, or to an 
adulatory spirit, which I detest. But of Lord Lonsdale I 
will say to you that I do not think there exists in England 
a man of any rank more anxiously desirous to discharge 
his duty in that station of life to which it has pleased 
God to call him. His thought and exertions are con- 
stantly directed to that object, and the more he is known 
the more is he beloved and respected and admired. 

I ought to have thanked you before for your version 
of Virgil's Eclogues^ which reached me at last. I have 
lately compared it line for line with the original, and 
think it very well done. I was particularly pleased with 
the skill you have shown in managing the contest between 
the shepherds in the third pastoral, where you have in- 
cluded in a succession of couplets the sense of Virgil's 
paired hexameter. I think I mentioned to you that these 
poems of Virgil have always delighted me much. There 
is frequently in them an elegance and a happiness which 
no translation can hope to equal. In point of fidelity 
your translation is very good indeed. 

You astonish me with the account of your books, and 
I should have been still more astonished if you had told 
me you had read a third (shall I say a tenth) part of 
them. My reading powers were never very great, and 
now they are much diminished, especially by candle light. 
And as to buying books, I can affirm that on new books 
I have not spent five shillings for the last five years. I 
include reviews, magazines, pamphlets, etc., etc. ; so that 

* F. Wrangham published VirgiPs Eclogues in English Verse in 
1830. He probably sent the MS. to Wordsworth in 18 19. — £d. 


there would be an end of Mr. Murray, and Mr. Longman, 
and Mr. Cadell etc, etc, if nobody bad more power or 
inclination to buy than mjrself; and as to old books, 
my dealings in that way, for want of means, have been 
very trifling. Nevertheless (small and paltry as my col- 
lection is) I have not read a fifth part of it. I should 
however like to see your army. 

Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp. 
When Agrican, with all his Northern powers 
Besieged Albracca as Romances tell.^ 

Not that I accuse you of romancing. I verily believe 
that you have all the books you speak ol Believe, and 
like the devils, tremble! Dear Wrangham, are you and 
I ever likely to meet in this world again ? Yours is a comer 
of the earth ; mine is not so. I never heard of anybody 
going to Bridlington, but all the world comes to the Lakes. 
Farewell. Elxcuse this wretched scrawl. It is like all that 
proceeds from my miserable pen. Be assured I shall be 
glad to hear of you at any and all times ; but literary 
news, except what I get occasionally from Southey, I have 
none to send you in return. Ever faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

As to the Nortons * the Ballad is my authority, and I 
require no more. It is much better than Virgil had for 
his jEneid, Perhaps I ought to have mentioned that the 
articles in Blackwood's Magazine that disgusted me so, 
were personal, — referring to myself and friends and 
acquaintances, especially Coleridge. 

* Paradise Regained^ Book III, 11. 337-339. — Ed. 

* See The White Doe of Rylstoney or the Fate of the Nortons. — E4 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs. Clarkson 

August I, 1819. 

. . . Have you seen Peter Belly and The Waggoner 1 
William has done nothing lately except a few sonnets, 
but these are exquisitely beautiful. . . . Rydal Mount 
\^ the nicest place in the world for children. You will 
almost long to be young again, as I do, when you see it ; 
for the sake of trotting down the green banks, running 
and dancing on the mount, etc. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

December 19th, 18 19. 

. . . Derwent is to go to his father after Christmas. 
This is a pity. Would you believe it possible, Coleridge 
expressed a wish that Sara could go to Highgate to be 
under the care of Mr. Oilman, the cleverest medical man 
with whom he was ever acquainted I ! Hartley is, I believe, 
at Ottery with his uncles. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Francis Wranghant 

[No date.] ^ 
Dear Wrangham, 

You are very good in sending one letter after another 

to inquire after a person so undeserving of attentions of 

this kind as myself. Dr. Johnson, I think, observes, or 

^This letter may belong to the year 181 1. See footnote on 
p. 511, Vol. I. — Ed. 



rather is made to observe by some of his biographers, that 
no man delights to give what he is accustomed to seU, 
"For example: you, Mr. Thrale, would rather part with 
anything in this way than your porter." Now, though I 
have never been much of a salesman in matters of litera- 
ture (the whole of my returns — I do not say net profits^ 
but returns — from the writing trade not amounting to 
seven score pounds), yet, somehow or other, I manu- 
facture a letter, and part with it, as reluctantly as if it 
were really a thing of price. But, to drop the comparison, 
I have so much to do with writing, in the way of labour 
and profession, that it is difficult to me to conceive how 
anybody can take up a pen but from constraint. My 
writing-desk is to me a place of punishment; and, as my 
penmanship sufficiently 'testifies, I always bend over it 
with some degree of impatience. All this is said that 
you may know the real cause of my silence, and not 
ascribe it in any degree to slight or forgetfulness on my 
part, or an insensibility to your worth and the value of 
your friendship. ... As to my occupations, they look 
little at the present age ; but I live in hope of leaving 
something behind me that by some minds will be valued. 
I see no new books except by the merest accident. Of 
course your poem, which I should have been pleased to 
read, has not found its way to me. You inquire about 
old books ; you might almost as well have asked for my 
teeth as for any of mine. The only modern books that I 
read are those of travels, or such as relate to matters of 
fact, — and the only modern books that I care for ; but as 
to old ones, I am like yourself, — scarcely anything comes 
amiss to me. The little time I have to spare — the very 
little, I may say — all goes that way. If, however, in the 
line of your prof ession you want any bulky old commentaries 
on the Scriptures (such as not twelve strong men of these 


degenerate days will venture — I do not say to read^ but to 
lift)^ I can, perhaps, as a special favour, accommodate you. 
I and mine will be happy to see you and yours here or 
an3rwhere ; but I am sorry the time you talk of is so dis- 
tant ; a year and a half is a long time looking forwards, 
though^ looking back, ten times as much is brief as a 
dream. My writing is wholly illegible — at least I fear 
so ; I had better, therefore, release you. 

Believe me, my dear Wrangham, 

Your affectionate friend, 

W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to John Kenyon ^ 


Mrs. Coleridge and her daughter are now here, both 
HrelL Since you left us Mrs. W. and I have been over to 
Sedbergh, to see the orphan family of Stephens ; we found 
their prospects brightening. The subscription is going 
on well, and situations have already been procured for 
several. To the honour of Liverpool, be it mentioned 
that Mr. Bolton — sometimes called the Liverpool Croe- 
sus — has contributed ;£'5o. You speak of this great 
commercial place as I should have expected. In respect 
to visual impression, nothing struck me so much at 
Liverpool as one of the streets near the river, in which is 
a number of lofty and large warehouses, with the processes 
of receiving and discharging goods. 

I am truly thankful for your travelling directions. . . . 

1 John Kenyon, the second cousin of Mrs. Barrett Browning, to 
whom she dedicated Aurora Leigh. — Ed. 




William Wordsworth to Viscount Lowther 

Rydal Mount, February, 1820. 

As one well acquainted with French affairs, do you 
think it would be prudent to lodge money in the French 
funds ? I mean for one like myself, who cannot afford to 
lose anything. By the sale of an estate I have about 
;^2ooo to place somewhere or other.^ Increase of inter- 
est is an object, as the education of my children is now 
reaching its most expensive point ; and if without much 
risk as to regular payment of interest, or loss upon the 
principal, I could profit by placing it in the French 
funds, I should like to do so. . . . 

[On the 13th of February Wordsworth wrote to Lord 
Lowther] . . . Sincere thanks for your letter. It has 
determined me to trust ;£'2ooo to the French funds. . . . 

1 The estate here referred to could not be the Applethwaite prop- 
erty, purchased and presented to Wordsworth by Sir George Beau- 
mont in 1803, as that is still in the possession of Wordsworth's 
descendants. It was probably the Place Fell property which Lord 
Lowther's father helped him to acquire in 18 10. — £d. 



William Wordsworth to John Wilson ^ 

Rydal Mount, May 5th, 1820. 
My dear Sir, 

Of the particular fitness of any one to fill the chair of 
Moral Philosophy, in the University of Edinburgh, I am 
an incompetent judge, having only a vague notion of the 
duties of the office. But if the choice is to depend upon 
pre-eminence of natural powers of mind, cultivated by 
excellent education, and habitually directed to the study 
of ethics in the most comprehensive sense of the word ; 
upon such powers, and great energy of character with 
correspondent industry, I have no hesitation in saying 
that the electors, the university, and Scotland in general, 
must be fortunate in no common degree if among the 
competitors there be foimd one more eligible than your- 

Wishing you, cordially, success in the pursuit of this 
honourable object of ambition, 

I remain. 

My dear Sir, 

Very faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

^ A copy of the testimonial given by Wordsworth to John Wilson 
(Christopher North), who was elected to the chair of Moral Phi- 
losophy at Edinburgh. — Ed. 


William Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Rydal Mount, July 23d, 1820. 
My dear Sir, 

My eyes have lately become so irritable that I am 
again forced to employ an amanuensis. 

I learned with much concern from Monkhouse and 
Tillbrooke that you had been unwell for some time, and 
am truly grieved not to find in your last an assurance 
that your health is restored. I hear from Miss Hutchin- 
son such striking accounts of the benefit which invalids 
derive from Harrowgate waters, and of their general 
salutary effect (in which she speaks from experience, 
having been there lately with a sick friend), that I more 
than hope you will have reason also to speak highly in 
their praise for their effect upon yourself. 

We are disappointed at not seeing you before you go 
into Scotland, myself more particularly so ; because I 
have held out expectations to an Irish gentleman, who 
has lately taken lodgings in this neighbourhood, that I 
might accompany him on a tour through a considerable 
part of his country, including the two extremities, Kil- 
larney and the Giant's Causeway, which he says might 
easily be accomplished in five weeks by our shipping at 
Whitehaven for Dublin. If thiis plan should be adopted, 
I fear I must purchase the pleasure at the cost of not 
seeing you unless you could be tempted to prolong your 
stay in this neighbourhood till towards the end of Sep- 
tember. If I do go (which certainly I should not have 
thought of this summer, were it not for the disordered 
state of my eyes), I shall make all possible speed back 


for the sake of seeing you and your brother, to whom I 
have a strong wish to be made known. Happy should I 
be, could what I have thrown out tempt you to make 
Ireland your object instead of Scotland. I have myself 
made three tours in Scotland, but cannot point out any- 
thing worthy of notice that is not generally known. Of 
particular sights and spots those which pleased me most 
were (to begin with the northernmost) the course of the 
river Beauly up to the sawmills, about twenty miles be- 
yond Inverness, — the fall of Foyers upon Loch Ness, 
(a truly noble thing, if one is fortunate as to the. quantity 
of water), and Glen Coe. These lie beyond the limit 
of your route, and within your route I was not much 
struck with anything but what everybody knows. . . . 

I am glad you have seen Bolton Priory. You probably 
know that Goredale, Malham Cove, and Wethercote Cove, 
which lie north of Bolton, are interesting objects, though 
dependent — two of them — upon water; and we have 
had such a drought as was never before known. 

Mrs. Wordsworth, Miss Hutchinson, and my sister, 
who writes for me, join me in kindest remembrance and 
sincere wishes for the recovery of your health. We are 
all well, and shall be most happy to see you. 

Ever sincerely yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

If you have not an introduction to Sir Walter Scott, 
and should wish for one, pray let me know and I will 
write to him. 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

,, , „. Berne, August 6th, [1820.1 

My dear Sir, -» 5 » l j 

We arrived here yesterday all in good health and 
spirits, and very much pleased with our travels. We 
intend to depart to-morrow morning for Thun, and shall 
proceed by Interlaken, Grindelwald, etc., to Lucerne, 
making little tours and turnings by the way. I hope it 
will not be long before you find us out somewhere ; and, j 
to assist you in so doing, we shall take care to leave !:. 
notices at the inns of our route. We intend to go as far i 
as Milan, but further than Milan I think we shall not 
attempt to go, — seeing by the way all that time and e 
strength will permit. Often and often have we wished t 
for you while we have been in Germany. At the time of l> 
till-paying, you would have saved us great trouble, and ': 
sometimes no little vexation. 

My brother's eyes are better, though not strong. My . 
sister makes a very good traveller, and I — though not 
the stoutest of the three — have done pretty well, and we - 
have all enjoyed ourselves. ... 

We shall all rejoice to see you. I am your faithful 
and affectionate friend, Dorothy Wordsworth. 

P.S. — We were delighted with Heidelberg, and with 
the kindness and hospitality of your friend, Mr. Pickford, 
and his family. 


Our Intended Route 



Over the Briinig 



To Lucerne 









Menaggio on they 

' Boromean Islands 

be St. Gothard 

Lake of Como / 

Domo d'Ossola 


Como / 

Cross the Simplon 


Milan / 

into the Valais 



Dorothy Wordsidorth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Milan, Sunday, September 3d, 1820. 
larest Friend, 

. But I forget that I am writing to you from Italy, 
s a f^te day, and our quiet English Sabbath. Mary 
are returned to our bedrooms, after a long walk 
^h the streets to see a military exhibition. Four 
ind soldiers, Bohemians and Italians with laurel 
in their caps, were assembled at mass, a temporary 
)eing erected for the occasion. The spectacle, with 
usic, sacred and military, was very splendid. The 
ig of bells n^veiL ceases. /We wait here to be sum- 
l by the gentlemen to go to mass at the cathedral, 

is certainly on the outside the most splendid and 
ful building I ever beheld ; yet wanting the solem- 
nd massiveness of a place of worship. In those re- 
. how inferior to our cathedrals ! It is all of polished 
e, exquisitely wrought, and the statues are not to be 
sred by the gazer, but I believe there are more than 
Lousand. Every small pinnacle supports a statue, the 
gure lifted up to the sky. The inside is very impos- 
le pillars very fine, but there are many faults to be 

in the architecture. One of Buonaparte's works 
he finishing of this cathedral, and I wish he had 


never done an)rthing worse. Thfe Italians always call 
him NapoleonCy and he seems to be a great favourite here, 
and the people being what they are, and having no dig- 
nified government of their own to be attached to, it is no 
wonder. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Playford Hall, near Ipswich, 
December 19th, 1820. 
My dear Sir, 

I received your letter dated Bracebridge this morning, 
and have written to Miss Rogers to request that she will do 
me the favour to permit you to see the little sarcophagus 
which you mention, if it is in her possession. To prevent 
loss of time I have desired Miss Rogers to be so kind as 
to address a note to you at Mrs. Dunn's, Montagu Square. 

I had a letter from my sister a few days ago. She 
and my brother were well, and had fixed upon the 20th 
as the day of their departure ; so I calculate that they will 
reach home two days before Christmas. 

My nephew William is here in high health and spirits. 
He is to go to Cambridge on Saturday, where I shall join 
him a few days before the end of his holidays ; and about 
the 20th of next month I intend to set off for Rydal, so 
if you are able to procure the candle-shade before that 
time, I can take charge of it. 

Hoping that before you again quit England your wan- 
derings may lead you into the north, where we shall again 
have the pleasure of meeting you, I remain, dear sir, 

Yours sincerely, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 


i Ci 


is 5 



Williant Wordsworth to Sir George Beaumont 

6th January, 1821. 
Afy dear Sir George, 

Yesterday I performed a great feat — wrote no less than 
seven letters, reserving yours for to-day, that I might have 
more leisure, and you consequently less trouble in read- 
ing. I have been a good deal tossed about since our 
arrival here. Mrs. W. and I were first called away by the 
sudden death of my kinsman, Mr. Myers.^ We went to 
college together, and were inseparables for many years. 
I saw him buried in Millom church, by the side of his 
wife. The churchyard is romantically situated, Duddon 
Sands on one side, and a rocky hill scattered over with 
ancient trees on the other. Close by are the remains of 
the old castle of the Huddlestones, part of which are con- 
verted into farm-houses, and the whole embowered in tall 
trees that tower up from the sides and bottom of the cir- 
cular moat. The churchyard is in like manner girt round 
with trees. The church is of striking architecture, and 
apparently of remote antiquity. 

We entered with the funeral train, the day being too 
far advanced to allow the clergyman to see to read the 
service, and no light had been provided, so we sat some 

1 See Vol. I, p. 58, note. — Ed. 


time in splemn silence. At last one candle was brought, 
which served both for minister and clerk, casting a wan 
light on their faces. On my right hand were two stone 
figures in a recumbent position (like those of the monu- 
ment in Coleorton church) — Huddlestones of other 
years — and the voice of the minister was accompanied, 
and almost interrupted, by the slender sobbing of a young 
person, an Indian by half blood, and by the father's 
side a niece of the deceased wife of the person whom 
we were interring. She hung over the coffin and contin- 
ued this Oriental lamentation till the service was over, 
everybody else, except one faithful servant, being appar- 
ently indifferent. Mrs. W., I find, has mentioned our 
return by Duddonside, and how much we were pleased 
with the winter appearance of my favourite river. 

Since that expedition I have been called to Appleby, 
and detained there upon business. In returning, I was 
obliged to make a circuit which showed me for the time 
several miles of the course of that beautiful stream, the 
Eden, from the bridge near Temple Sowerby down to 
Kirkoswald. Part of this tract of country I had indeed 
seen before, but not from the same points of view. It is 
a charming region, particularly at the spot where the 
Eden and Emont join. The rivers appeared exquisitely 
brilliant, gliding under rocks and through green mead- 
ows, with woods and sloping cultivated grounds, and 
pensive russet moors interspersed, and along the circuit 
of the horizon, lofty hills and mountains clothed, rather 
than concealed, in fieecy ck>uds and resplendent vapours. 

My road brought me suddenly and unexpectedly upon 
that ancient monument called by the country people 
" Long Meg and her Daughters." Everybody has heard 
of it, and so had I from very early childhood, but had 


never seen it before. Next to Stonehenge, it is beyond 
dispute the most noble relic of the kind that this or prob- 
ably any other country contains. Long Meg is a single 
block of unhewn stone, eighteen feet high, at a small dis- 
tance from a vast circle of other stones, some of them of 
huge size, though curtailed of their stature by their own 
incessant pressure upon it. 

Did you ever see that part of the Eden ? If not, you 
must contrive it. I was brought to Kirkoswald, but had 
not time to visit Nunnery, which I purpose to do next 
summer. Indeed, we have a thought of taking the whole 
course of the Eden from Carlisle upwards, which will 
bring us near the source of the Lune, so that we may 
track that river to Lancaster, and so return home by 
Flookburgh and Cartmel. 

It is now high time to say a word about Coleorton. I 
often have the image before me of your pleasant labours, 
and see the landscape growing under your patient hand. 
The large picture you were about must be finished long 
since. How are you satisfied with it ? I am not a little 
proud that our scenery employs your pencil so sedulously 
after a visit to the Alps. It has lost little in my estima- 
tion by the comparison. At first I thought the coppice 
woods — and, alas ! we have little else — very shabby sub- 
stitutes for the unshorn majesty of what I had lately 
seen. The rocks and crags also seem to want breadth 
and repose, their surfaces appearing too often crumbled 
and frittered. But, on the other hand, the comparison is 
often to our advantage. The lakes and streams not only 
are so much more pure and crystalline, but the surfaces 
of the one and the courses of the other present a far 
more attractive variety — a superiority which deserves to 
be set off at length, but which will strike your practised 


mind immediately. It happened that Southey, who was 
so good as to come over to see us, mentioned to me 
Nichols' book ^ with great commendation. 

Ever yours, ^^ 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Wednesday Evening, [January, 1821.] 
My dearest Friend, 

. . . My dear brother is quite well, and so cheerful 
with the boys, it is delightful to see him. I played a 
game at "Speculation" with the lads last night; but I 
found it very dull compared with our Playford pools at 
" Commerce." . . . Christopher " is an extraordinary boy. 
If God grant him health and life, he will be an honour 
to his family I feel assured. We have had a nice walk 
together ; but I constantly regret Charles's • absence, to 
break through the shyness of his brothers, especially of 
John. He is a very thoughtful, intelligent boy, and I 
doubt not an excellent scholar, but his shyness is painful 
to him I think ; and he struck me as being so exceed- 
ingly like Charles Lloyd, when I first met him last night, 
that I felt uneasy at the resemblance. Probably he would 
remind you of his mother. I do not however see the 
particular likeness to her. . . . 

1 Doubtless Nichols' History and Antiquities of Leicester, — Ed. 

3 Christopher Wordsworth, nephew of the poet, afterwards 
Bishop of Lincoln. — Ed. 

^Charles Wordsworth, also nephew of the poet, afterwards 
Bishop of St Andrews. — £d. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, Jan. 23, 1821. 
My dear Friend, 

We have had no tidings of the books which were to be 
sent us by the bookseller near Charing Cross, which — if 
no misfortune had happened to them — might have been 
here upwards of six weeks ago. We suffer no little in- 
convenience from the want of them ; and along with the 
books the package contained paper, which not having 
arrived, I am obliged to write to you on this shabby half 
folio sheet. Everything has been unlucky relating to this 
matter ; for being uneasy at not receiving the books 
nearly a month since, I sent a letter to a friend to be 
franked for you, your address being given in the inside 
of the cover, which had been thrown into the fire I sup- 
pose as soon as the letter was opened ; for to my great 
mortification the letter came back to me with a notice 
that my friend did not know what use was to be made of 
it. . . . 

I have no news from this place. My sister is still at 
Cambridge. Mr. Southey came over to see me since my 
return ; he is quite well, but looks older than might be 
expected. He is about to publish a poem^ occasioned 
by the death of his late Majesty, which will bring a nest 
of hornets about his ears, and will satisfy no party. It is 
written in English hexameter verse, and in some passages 
with great spirit. But what do you think ? In enumer- 
ating the glorified spirits of the reign of George III, 
admitted along with their earthly sovereign into the new 

* The Vision of Judgment, — Ed. 


Jerusalem, neither Dr. Johnson nor Mr. Pitt are to be 
found ! Love to the laureate for this treasonable judg- 
ment will be the cry of the Tories. 

I am glad to find that Barry Cornwall's play ^ has been 
so successful, and if you see him, pray be so kind as to 
give him my congratulations. Say all that is kind to the 
Lambs, and to Talfourd, and to the Monkhouses, but 
with them we are in correspondence. 

Mrs. Wordsworth desires her kindest remembrances. 
We often talk of you, and your good humour and accom- 
modating manners. _ , 

° Ever smcerely yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to John Kenyan 

Rydal Mount, 5th February, 1821. 
My dear Friend, 

Many thanks for your valuable present of the shades, 
which reached me two days ago by the hands of my sister. 
I have tried them, and they answer their purpose perfectly ; 
Mrs. W. says they have no fault but being over fine for 
the person they are intended for ! I, on the other hand, 
am pleased to see ornament engrafted upon infirmity, 
and promise that I will take care neither to sully nor 
spoil such elegant productions. 

We have had a charming season since we reached 
Westmoreland ; winter disarmed of all his terrors, and 
proving that it is not necessary always to run away from 
old England for the sake of fine weather. 

1 The tragedy of Mirandola. — Ed. 


Southey was so good as to come over and see us ; he 
is well, but always looks rather pale and thin in winter, 
which seems to add a few years to his age. He is as 
busy as ever, and about to publish a political poem which 
will satisfy no party.^ 

. . . Cambridge is a " pleasant place," and so is Rydal 
Mount. Come, and make it pleasanter ; or, if that is not 
to be, let us hear at least of your movements. 

My sister seems to think, and yet not to think, that she 
ought to have answered your last letter; she stumbled 
out an apology to be transmitted by me. 

I did not like the frame of it, and said that you will 
readily forgive her, if she makes up for that neglect by 
additional application to her journal,^ which I am sorry 
to find is little advanced, talking being, as you know, a 
much more easy, and — to one party at least — a more 
pleasant thing than writing. 


[ William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson] 

[Postmark, March 13, 1821. — Ed.] 
My dear Friend, 

The books arrived safe. You were very good in writing 
me so long a letter ; and kind, after your own Robinsonian 
way, going to inquire after our long and far banished little 
one. As we hear from himself never, and of him but sel- 
dom, we cannot but be at some times anxious, remember- 
ing the two short fits of illness which he had last summer. 
You will be pleased to hear that the two ladies are busy 

1 See p. 141. — Ed. 

^Journal of a Tour on the Continent (1820). — Ed. 


in transcribing their journals ; neither of them have yet 
reached the point where you joined us, but many a spot 
where we all wished you had been with us ; often, I own 
from our want of an interpreter, and not unfrequentlyfrom 
less selfish motives. Your determination to withdraw from 
your profession, in sufficient time for an autumnal harvest 
of leisure, is of a piece with the rest of your consistent j^ 
resolves and practices. Consistent I have said, and why not -^ 
rational; the word would surely have been added, had not - 
I felt that it was awkwardly loading the sentence, and so !^ 
truth would have been sacrificed to a point of taste, but b 
for after compunction. Full surely you will do well, but take t 
time ; it would be ungrateful to quit in haste a profession p 
that has used you so civilly. Would that I could encour- 
age the hope of passing a winter with you at Rome, about 
the time you mention, which is just the period I should 
myself select. But the expense is greater than I dare 
think of facing, though five years hence the education of 
my eldest son will be nearly finished ; but in the mean- 
time I cannot foresee how we shall be able to lay by any- 
thing either for travelling, or other purposes. Poor Scott ! ^ 
living in this solitude, we have thought more about him, 
and suffered more anxiety and sorrow on his account, than 
you among the many interruptions of London can have 
leisure to feel. I do not recollect any other English 
author's perishing in the same way. It is an innovation 
the effect of others which promise no good to the repub- 
lic of letters or to the country. We have had ribaldry, 
and sedition, and slanders enough in our literature here- 
tofore, but no epithet which these periods deserved is so 
foul as that merited by the present, viz., the treacherous. 

1 John Scott, editor of The Champion newspaper, and afterwards 
of the London Magazine, — Ed. 


As to Scott, he need not have lost his life,^ if the coroner's 
inquest may be trusted, but for the intemperance and igno^ 
ranee of his friend. At a proper time I should much wish 
inquiries to be made from myself after Mrs. Scott, who 
must know that I was acquainted with her husband. 
This perhaps you could assist me in effecting ; in the 
meanwhile could you let me know how she bears her 
affliction, and what circumstances she is left in. 

I have read Cornwall's tragedy,^ and think of it 
pretty much as you seem to do. The feelings are cleverly 
touched in it ; but the situations for exhibiting them are 
produced not only by sacrifice of the respectability of the 
persons concerned, but with great (and I should have 
thought unnecessary) violation of probability and com- 
mon sense. But it appears to me, in the present late age 
of the world, a most difficult task to construct a good 
tragedy, free from stale and mean contrivances, and anir 
mated by new and suitable characters. So that I am in- 
clined to judge Cornwall gently, and sincerely rejoice 
in his success. As to poetry, I am sick of it ; it over- 
rans the country in all the shapes of the plagues of 
Egypt, frog-poets (the croaker's), mice-poets (the nib- 
bler's), a class rhyming to mice (which shall be nameless), 
and fly-poets. Gray in his dignified way calls flies the 
"insect youth," a term wonderfully applicable upon this 
occasion. But let us desist, or we shall be accused of 
envying the rising generation ! Be assured, however, that 
it is not fear of such accusation which leads me to praise 
a youngster who writes verses in the Etonian, to some of 
which our Cumberland paper has introduced me, and some 
I saw at Cambridge. He is as hopeful, I think, as any of 

^ He was killed in a duel. — Ed. 
' Mirandola* — £d. 


them — by name Montsay.^ If you should ever fall in 
with him, tell him that he has pleased me much. My 
sister sends her very kind love, and expressions of bitter 
regret that she did not see you at Cambridge, where 
Mary and I passed thirteen days ; and what with the 
company (although I saw very little of him) of my dear 
brother, our stately apartments, with all the venerable 
portraits there, that awe one into humility, old friends 
and new acquaintances, and a thousand familiar remem- 
brances, and freshly conjured-up recollections, I enjoyed 
myself not a little. I should like to send you a sonnet 
composed at Cambridge, but it is reserved for cogent 
reasons — to be imparted in due time. I have been scrib- 
bling with an infamous pen, and we have no quills,— 
which makes the further want of a new sheet the less 
regretted. Farewell. Happy shall we be to see you. . . . 
Congratulate Talf ourd from me upon his new honours ' 
and add a thousand good wishes. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

March 27, [1821.] 
My dearest Friend, 

. . . William is quite well, and very busy, though he 
has not looked at The Recluse or the poem on his own 

1 So it is written in the MS. The reference is to John Moultrie 
(1799-1874), poet and clergyman, who wrote in the Etonian^ and in 
Knighfs Quarterly^ under the nom de plume of Gerard Montgomery. 
In the Etonian^ in 1820, appeared My Brother's Grave, and Godiva; 
also lines on The Coliseum, and an article "On Wordsworth's Poetry," 
signed G. M. — Ed. 

^ Sergeant Talf ourd was called to the Bar in 1821. He married 
in 1822. — Ed. 



life ; and this disturbs us. After fifty years of age there 
is no time to spare, and unfinished works should not, if it 
be possible, be left behind. This he feel3, but the will 
never governs his labours. How different from Southey, 
who can go as regularly as clock-work, from history to 
poetry, from poetry to criticism, and so on to biography, 
or anything else. If their minds could each spare a little 
to the other, how much better for bothl William is at 
present composing a series of sonnets on a subject which 
I am sure you would never divine, — the Church of Eng- 
land, — but you will perceive that, in the hands of a poet, 
it is one that will furnish ample store of poetic materials. 
In some of the sonnets he has, I think, been most suc- 
cessful. . . . Have you seen Southey's Vision of Judg- 
ment 1 I like both the metre, and most part of the poem, 
very much. It is composed with great animation, and 
some passages are very beautiful ; but the intermixture of 
familiar names pushes you down a frightful descent at 
times, and I wish he had avoided the very words of Scrip- 
ture. The king has sent him a message that he had 
read the poem twice over, and thanks him for the dedi- 
cation. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Viscount Lowther 

March 28th, 1821. 

... I am truly sorry for what you say about the prob- 
able fate of the Catholic question, and feel grateful to 
you as an Englishman for your persevering exertions. 
Canning's speech, as given in the Morning Chronicle and 
Courier^ is a tissue of glittering declamation and slender 


sophistry. He does not appear to look at the effect of 
this measure upon the dissenters at all ; and as to the 
inference that the catholics will be quiet when possessed 
of their object, because they have been patient under 
their long privation, first, we may deny the premises— 
has not every concession been employed as a vantage- 
ground for another attack ? and, had it been otherwise, is 
it true that they have been patient ? What says history 
as to the long enduring quiet of men who have an object 
in view ? The grandees of the Puritans, says Heylyn in 
his life of archbishop Laud,^ after the first heats were 
over in Queen Elizabeth's time, carried their work for 
thirty years together, like moles under the ground, not 
casting, up any earth before them, till they had made so 
strong a party in the House of Commons ais was able to 
hold the thing to their own conditions. Mr. Canning 
finds the Catholic peers supporters of episcopacy in 
Charles the First's time, and concludes, therefore, that they 
were friends to the Church of England, because bishops 
make a part of its constitution. Would it not have been 
more consonant to history to ascribe this care of reformed 
bishoprics to the love of an institution favourable to that 
exaltation of religion by which abuses were produced 
that wrought the overthrow of papacy in England, and 
to some lurking expectations that if the sees could be 
preserved, they might not improbably be filled at no 
distant time by catholic prelates. . . . 

^ The title of Heylyn*s book is Cyprianus Anglicus. — Ed. 


William Wordsworth to Viscount Lowther 

[No date, but evidently 1821.] 

... I have read with the utmost attention the debates 
on the Catholic question. The opinion I share with you 
remains unaltered. We have heard much of candour and 
forbearance, etc., but these qualities appear to be all on 
one side, viz. on that of the advocates of existing laws. 
Among the innovators there is a haughtiness, an air of 
insolent superiority to light and knowledge, which no 
strength of argimient could justify, much less the soph- 
isms and assiunptions which they advance. I am aware 
that if the Catholics are to get into Parliament, ambition 
and worldly interest will have keen sway over them as 
over other men ; and it need not be dreaded, therefore, 
that they will all be, upon every occasion, upon one side. 
But still the esprit de corps cannot but be stronger with 
diem than other bodies for obvious reasons ; and looking 
at the constitution of the House, how nicely balanced 
parties have often been, and what small majorities have 
repeatedly decided most momentous questions, I cannot 
but tremble at the prospect of introducing men who may 
turn, and (if they act consistently with the spirit of their 
religion, and even with its open professions) must turn 
their mutual fidelity against our Protestant establishment, 
till, in co-operation with other dissenters and infidels, 
they have accomplished its overthrow. . . . 

. . . The Catholic claims are to be referred to a com- 
mittee ! God grant that these people may be baffled ! 
How Mr. Canning and other enemies to reform in Par- 
liament can, without gross inconsistency, be favourers of 


their cause, I am unable to conceive. Mr. Canmng 
objects to reform because it would be the means of send- 
ing into the House of Commons members whose station, 
opinions, and sentiments differ from those of the persons 
who are now elected, and who would prove less friendly 
to the constitution in Church and State. Good heavens I 
and won't this be the case to a mosr formidable extent if 
you admit Catholics, a measure to be followed up, as it 
inevitably will, sooner or later, with the abolition of the 
Test and Corporation acts, and a proportional increase 
of the political power of the dissenters, who are to a man 
hostile to the Church. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[May, 182 1.] 
My dearest Friend, 

... I can walk with as little fatigue as when I was 
twenty. Not long ago my brother and I spent a whole 
day on the mountains. We went by a circuitous road 
to the top of Fairfield, walking certainly not less than 
fourteen miles; and I was not in the least tired. My 
brother is still hard at work with his sonnets. ... I 
have not yet finished my journal, though at times I have 
worked very hard from ten o'clock in the morning till 
dinner time, at four. When it is done, I fear it will prove 
very tedious reading even to friends, who have not them- 
selves visited the places where we were. Had not my 
brother so very much wished me to do my best, I am 
sure I should never have had the . resolution to go fur- 
ther than just re-copy what I did by snatches, and very 


irregularly, at the time ; but to please him I have amplified 
and arranged; and a long affair will come out of it, 
which I cannot think any person can possibly have the 
patience to read through ; but which, through sympathy 
and a desire to revive dormant recollections, may in 
patches be interesting to a few others. For my own sake, 
however, the time is not thrown away ; and when we are 
dead and gone, any memorial of us will be satisfactory to 
the children, especially Dorothy. Her mother's journal 
is already transcribed, and not being so lengthy as mine, 
it cannot but be interesting, and very amusing. She 
has read it to Mrs. Gee and Miss L., . . . and they 
were delighted. Her course was much wiser than mine. 
She wrote regularly and straightforward, and has done 
little more than re-copy; whereas, all that I did would 
have been almost worthless, dealt with in that way. 
There is some excuse for me in my illness which threw 
me back. I have not read a single word of Mary's, — 
being determined to finish my own first, and then make 
comparisons for correction, and insertion of what I may 
have omitted. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Sir Walter Scott 

Rydal Mount, Aug. 23, 1821. 
Dear Sir Walter, 

The bearer, Mr. Robinson, being on a tour in Scot- 
land, is desirous of the honour of an introduction to you ; 
which, though aware of the multiplicity of your engage- 
ments, and sensible of the value of your time, I have 
not scrupled to give. Mr. R. is a highly esteemed 
friend of myself, and of those who are dearest to me ; he 


accompanied us during our tour among the Alps last sum- 
mer, and I can say from experience that he will prove no 
unworthy spectator of anything which you may be kind 
enough to recommend to his notice in that country which 
you have so nobly illustrated. Mr. R. has been much 
upon the Continent, and is extensively read in German lit- 
erature, speaking the language with the ease of a native. 
In the last letter I had from you, you spoke of the 
pleasure you should have in revisiting our Arcadia. I 
assure you that you would be most welcome. When I 
think how small is the space between your residence 
upon the Tweed and mine in the valley of Ambleside, I 
wonder we see so little of each other. In all cases, how- 
ever, believe me, with sincere regard and high admiration, 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

Mrs. W. and my sister unite with me in remembrances 
to yourself and Mrs. Scott. 

William Wordsworth to Walter Savage Landor 

Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, 
September 3d, 1821. 
My dear Sir, 

... I feel myself much honoured by the present of 
your book of Latin poems, ^ and it arrived at a time when 
I had the use of my eyes for reading ; and with great 
pleasure did I employ them in the perusal of the disser- 
tation annexed to your poems, which I read several 
times ; but the poems themselves I have not been able 
to look into, for I was seized with a fit of composition at 

1 The Idyllia Heroica decern Pisa^ 1820. — Ed. 


that time, and deferred the pleasure to which your poems 
invited me till I could give them an undivided attention. 
. . . We live here somewhat singularly circumstanced — 
in solitude during nearly nine months of the year, and for 
the rest in a round of engagements. I have nobody 
near me who reads Latin, so that I can only speak of 
your essay from recollection. You will not perhaps be 
surprised when I state that I differ from you in opinion 
as to the propriety of the Latin language being employed 
by moderns for works of taste and imagination. Miser- 
able would have been the lot of Dante, Ariosto, and 
Petrarch, if they had preferred the Latin to their mother 
tongue (there is, by-the-by, a Latin translation of Dante 
which you do not seem to know), and what could Milton, 
who was surely no mean master of the Latin tongue, 
have made of his Paradise Losty had that vehicle been 
employed instead of the language of the Thames and 
Severn ! Should we even admit that all modern dialects 
are comparatively changeable, and therefore limited in 
their efficacy, may not the sentiment which Milton so 
pleasingly expresses, when he says he is content to be read 
m his native isle only, be extended to durability ; and is 
it not more desirable to be read with affection and pride, 
and familiarly for five hundred years, by all orders of minds 
and all ranks of people, in your native tongue, than only 
by a few scattered scholars for the space of three thou- 
sand? Had your idylliums been in English, I should 
long ere this have been as well acquainted with them as 
with your Gebir^ and with your other poems. 

I met with a hundred things in your Dissertation^ thsX fell 
m with my own judgments, but there are many opinions 

^ Doubtless the prose appendix to Idyllia Heroka^ entitled De 
CultM atqiu Usu LaHni Sermones^ etc., at p. 215 of which occurs a 
complimentary reference to Wordsworth. — Ed. 


which I should like to talk over with you. Several of 
the separate remarks, upon Virgil in particular, though 
perfectly just, would perhaps have been better placed in 
notes or an appendix ; they are details that obstruct the 
view of the whole. Are you not also penurious in your 
praise of Gray ? The fragment at the commencement of 
his fourth book, in which he laments the death of West, 
in cadence and sentiment, touches me in a manner for 
which I am grateful. The first book also of the same 
poems appears to me as well executed as anything of 
that kind is likely to be. Is there not a speech of Solon 
to which the concluding couplet of Gray's sonnet bears a 
more pointed resemblance than to any of the passages 
you have quoted ? He was told not to grieve for the loss 
of his son, as tears would be of no avail ; '* and for that 
very reason," replied he, " do I weep." It is high time I 
should thank you for the honourable mention you have 
made of me. It could not but be grateful to me to be 
praised by a poet who has written verses of which I would 
rather have been the author than of any produced in our 
time. What I now write to you, I have frequently said 
to many. . . . 

I remain, my dear sir, sincerely yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Rydal Mount, Sept. 22d, 1821. 
My dear Sir, 

My eyes are better than when you were here, but an 

amanuensis is still expedient, and Mrs. W. therefore writes 


for me to the whistling of as melancholy a wind as ever 
blew, coming as it does after a long series of broken wea- 
ther, which has been injurious to the harvest, and when 
we were calculating upon a change for the better. The 
season with us has been much less unfavourable, I fear, 
than in many other parts, — though our exercise has never 
been altogether prevented, and we have had some beau- 
tiful days. Two schemes of " particular pleasure " have 
been frustrated thus far, a second trip to Borrowdale — 
mcluding the summit of Scawf ell — and, for my daugh- 
ter and her school-companions, an excursion to Fumess 
Abbey. Anxiously have they looked in vain for steadily 
bright weather, thinking little about the spoiling of the 
crops by the damp days, rains, and winds. 

Since your departure we have seen no persons of note 
except Dr. Holland, the Albanian Iraveller, and otherwise 
less agreeably distinguished. We have two additional 
neighbours (not to speak of the new-born Rotha, for that 
name the infant is to bear in honour of the stream upon 
whose banks she was born) under Mr. Quillinan's roof, 
in the persons of Colonel Holmes and his lady, sister to 
Mrs. Q. The colonel is a good-natured old soldier, who 
has risen without purchase to his present rank, and stood 
the brunt of war in the peninsula and in America. At 
Ambleside there was a gay ball ; for such it appeared to 
many contributors to its splendour, but not so to the para- 
doxical lady of Calgarth.^ She thought nothing .of it, 
because there was no gentleman there, as she said^ " above 
five feet eight inches," — though there were present two 
handsome officers, one a Waterloo medalist, and both of 
good stature. This lady's ideal of a partner — and such 

^Calgarth Hall, the residence of the Bishop of Landaff. — Ed. 


she hoped to meet — is a ** tall slender person with black 
hair and a bald front." What a pity that you, or your 
brother, could not have been put into a stretching machine, 
and conveyed to Ambleside by steam, through the air, or 
under the earth. Fashion and fancy, I can assure you, 
run high in this neighbourhood as to these matters. At 
Keswick resides a Miss Stanger, her father a Cheapside 
trader who has built a house near the vicarage. This lady, 
celebrated for beauty, enviable for fortune, would not 
allow that a ball could be mustered at Keswick by all 
the collegians there. " Send for a parcel of officers from 
Carlisle," said she, " and then something may be done." 
What a slight upon the gown ! and from a blue-stocking 
lady too, who is an klhve of Mrs. Grant ^ of the Mountains! 
" Come, come," said ^he to a young Oxonian, " let us 
walk out this eveni^g^at I may catch a cold, and have 
an excuse for not going to the thing ! " * 

Dear Mr. Kenyon, 

Writing in my own name, I thank you, while William is 
taking a turn, after dictating the above flourish, for your 
agreeable and acceptable present which was duly received. 
The char shall be forwarded to the address, as soon as 
we can procure any that we know to be excellent. I 
shall anxiously expect your next commission^ which I hope 
will be to look out for a house. By-the-by, Mr. Gee has 
taken one at Keswick, so it will be well to know what 
Mf. Tillbrook means to do with the Ivy Cot, which will 

^ Mrs. Grant of Laggan, author of Letters from the Mountains. — 

^ Sarah Hutchinson must have read this letter before it was dis- 
patched, because she inserts the remark here : <* Not true. She said 
* the baU.' S. H. " — Ed. 


be vacant next Whitsuntide. But I must not consume 

more space, as W. is not done. Very sincerely yours, 

Willy leaves us to-morrow. . _ „, 

^ M. W. 

I was going to say something about your tour, but 
Mrs. W. tells me that what I meant to speak of was men- 
tioned when you were here, so nothing remains but good 
wishes in which all my family join, both to yourself and 
to your brother, who stands in particular need of them if 
he meditates marriage. 

Very affectionately yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Francis Chantrey 

Rydal Mount, Oct., 182 1. 
My dear Sir, 

If I recollect right I ordered seven casts. ^ One of 
them was intended for the bearer of this, my friend Mr. 
Robinson. He wishes to have another, and possibly more, 
with which I beg he may be furnished ; for which himself 
will pay, and give directions whither they are to be sent. 
If I am not mistaken, the price which the person making 
these casts charges is four guineas. Allow me to ask 
whether, in case fifteen or twenty are required, he could 
not supply them at a lower rate for the accommodation 
of my friends. 

Since my last I have heard from Sir George Beaumont, 
who expresses himself in the highest terms of the bust, 

1 Of his bust of the poet. — Ed. 


and adds a world of most agreeable thfngs concerning its 
author, — both as an artist and a man, — which it would 
give me pleasure to repeat, but I spare your blushes. 

I have requested Mr. Carruthers, who painted a por- 
trait of me some years ago,^ to call for a sight of the bust. 
He is an amiable young man, whom a favourable open- 
ing induced to sacrifice the pencil to the pen, not the pen 
of authorship, — he is too wise for that, — but the pen of 
the counting house, which he is successfully driving at 
Lisbon. I remain, with sincere regards from Mrs. W. and 
my sister, to yourself and Mrs. Chantrey, 

Most faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Nov. 24, 1 82 1. 
My dear Friend, 

The three or four days after you left us were most pro- 
vokingly sunny and delightful. I cannot say that we have 
had much vexation of the like kind since that time; for 
the rain has day by day fallen in torrents with a chance 
twenty-four hours of fine weather between; and we con- 
soled ourselves as well as we could for our mortification 
in having lost you before the fine weather came, in think- 
ing that it would make your journey pleasant on the out- 
side of the coach, and also in remembering how cheerful 
and merry we were in spite of wind and rain, during the 
short time you were with us. ... I write now because I 

ilniSi;. — Ed. 


have to ask your advice for a young man, the son of our 
friend Mrs. Cookson of Kendal, who is in the last year of 
his clerkship with a solicitor at Kendal, and is looking 
forward to his removal to London. . . . Will you be so 
good as to point out what seems to you most likely to be 
serviceable in the regulation of his views ? — and perhaps 
you may know some respectable solicitor who may be 
inclined to take him into his office. Mr. Strickland Cook- 
son is a remarkably steady and sensible young man, very 
attentive to business, and has, I doubt not, given great 
satisfaction to his present master; and you already know 
from us that he is come of good parents. . . . He has no 
particular wish to settle in the country after his clerkship, 
rather the contrary ; though we think that he would have 
a better chance than most young men in his native town. 
If there should be an opening for him in London, he would 
prefer settling there. * 

I mention these circumstances, that you may be the 
better able to judge what kind of practice for the time he 
has yet to serve may be most likely to profit him; and 
perhaps in thinking the matter over you may hit upon 
some judicious friend or acquaintance in the law who may 
be glad to take such a young man into his service. . . . 

I should have continued to wait yet a week or two 
longer in hopes of a letter fronv you, but for the present 
opportunity. You know you had several matters to write 
about. Do not forget the pulpit at Brussels, and if you 
have any notes respecting Milan cathedral, I should be 
grateful if you would send them. . . . 

My brother's eyes are no worse. He has written some 
beautiful poems since you left us, which — as Miss 
Hutchinson has transcribed them for Mr. Monkhouse — 
you will have an opportunity of seeing. I am sure they 


will delight both you and him. The sonnets have been 
at rest. 

Poor Mrs. Quillinan has been removed to Lancaster; 
and you will be sorry to hear that her mind is not more 
settled than when Mrs. W. was attending upon her, though 
she is less turbulent. Her eldest little girl is with Mrs. 
Gee ; and her husband at present goes to visit her. My 
brother accompanied Mr. Q. on a tour to the Caves, 
Studley Park, Knaresborough, and York. This was of 
great service to the forlorn husband, who is sadly un- 
settled at home. My brother very much enjoyed his tour. 
I have not had a single line from my dear and good friend, 
Mrs. Clarkson, since Playford Hall had the honour of 
becoming a royal residence ; and we have been anxious 
to hear how the parties were satisfied with each other, on 
nearer acquaintance. Mrs. C. talked of going to London 
before Christmas ; and perhaps she is there now, for the 
papers tell us that the Queen and Princesses have left 

It gave us great concern to hear of the death of John 
Lamb.^ Though his brother and sister did not see very 
much of him, the loss will be deeply felt. Pray tell us 
particularly how they are, and give our kind love to them. 
I fear Charles's pen will be stopped for a time. What 
delightful papers he has .lately written for that otherwise 
abominable magazine I The Old King's Benchers ^ is 
exquisite ; indeed the only one I do not quite like is the 
Grace before Meat 

I hope you see the Monkhouses often, though he has 
become a home-stayer. I cannot express how it would 

1 John Lamb, " the broad, burly, jovial," as Talford put it, died in 
November, 1821. — Ed. 

2 The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple. — Ed. 


grieve me if anything should prevent their intended jour- 
ney next summer. It seemed quite unnatural not to have 
him amongst us during some part of the last. . . . 
It is eleven o'clock. I have yet another letter to write. 

Believe me, dear friend and fellow-traveller, 

Yours faithfully, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 

I have been reading to my brother what I had written 
concerning Strickland Cpokson, and he desires me to add 
that Mr. Wilson of Kendal, whom he serves at present, 
has respectable connexions in London, among whom is 
Mr. Addison of Staple Inn, successor to, and formerly 
partner with, our late brother ; but it is thought here that 
it would be more advantageous to the young man to be 
placed in an ofEce where he might meet with more exten- 
sive practice. 

Amongst the poems is one to the memory of poor God- 
dard, which probably would never have been written but 
for your suggestion.^ How often do I think of that night 
when you first introduced that interesting youth to us ! At 
this moment I see in my mind's eye the lighted saloriy 
you in your great coat, and the two slender tall figures 
following you ! 

My brother says that you will probably like to have your- 
self a copy of the stanzas above-mentioned ; and also you 
promised to seek an opportunity (if ever it should be com- 
posed) to send this tribute to poor Goddard's memory to his 
mother in America. [In Wordsworth's hand.] By no means 
read the poem to any verse-writer, or magazine scribbler, 

1 See Elegiac Stanzas, in " Memorials of a Tour in the Conti- 
nent " (1820). Poetical Works, Eversley edition, Vol. VI, p. 372. — Ed. 


Have you seen the Edinburgh magazine with the arti- 
cles signed S. T. Coleridge ? My brother has not ; for 
he will not suffer it to come into his house, as you know; 
but we females have. We found the matter too dull to 
be read by us ; mostly unintelligible, and think it cannot 
be Coleridge's.* 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 4, 1821. 

... I should think that I had lived to little purpose 
if my notions on the subject of government had under- 
gone no modification. My youth must, in that case, have 
been without enthusiasm, and my manhood endued with 
small capability of profiting by reflection. If I were 
addressing those who have dealt so liberally with the 
words "renegade," "apostate," etc., I should retort the 
charge upon them, and say. You have been deluded by 
places and persons^ while I have stuck to principles. I 
abandoned France, and her rulers, when they abandoned 
the struggle for liberty, gave themselves up to tjranny, 
and endeavoured to enslave the world. I disapproved of 
the war against France at its commencement, thinking — 
which was perhaps an error — that it might have been 
avoided; but after Buonaparte had violated the inde- 
pendence of Switzerland, my heart turned against him, 
and against the nation that could submit to be the instru- 
ment of such an outrage. Here it was that I parted, in 
feeling, from the Whigs, and to a certain degree united with 

1 H. C. Robinson had assured Dorothy Wordsworth in a letter 
to which this is a reply that the articles were Coleridge's. — Ed. 



adversaries, who were free from the delusion (such 
St ever regard it) of Mr. Fox and his party, that a 
ind honourable peace was practicable with the French 
n, and that an ambitious conqueror like Buonaparte 
I be softened down into a commercial rival, 
lis is enough for foreign politics, as influencing my 

lere are three great domestic questions, viz. the lib- 
)f the press. Parliamentary reform, and Roman Cath- 
concession, which, if I briefly advert to, no more 
be said at present. 

free discussion of public measures through the press 
*m the only safeguard of liberty; without it I have 
er confidence in kings, parliaments, judges, or divines. 
have all in their turn betrayed their country. But 
>ress, so potent for good, is scarcely less so for evil ; 
mfortunately they who are misled and abused by its 
IS are the persons whom it can least benefit. It is 
atal characteristic of their disease to reject all reme- 
coming from the quarter that has caused or aggra- 
i the malady. I am therefore for vigorous restrictions ; 
here is scarcely any abuse that I would not endure, 
:r than sacrifice — or even endanger — this freedom, 
hen I was young — giving myself credit for qualities 
[1 I did not possess, and measuring mankind by that 
lard — I thought it derogatory to human nature to 
ip property in preference to person, as a title for 
lative power. That notion has vanished. I now per- 
: many advantages in our present complex system 
presentation, which formerly eluded my observation, 
has tempered my ardour for reform ; but if any plan 
I be contrived for throwing the representation fairly 
the hands of the property of the country, and not 


leaving it so much in the hands of the large proprietors 
as it now is, it should have my best support ; though even 
in that event there would be a sacrifice of personal rights, 
independent of property, that are now frequently exercised 
for the benefit of the community. 

Be not startled when I say that I am averse to further 
concessions to the Roman Catholics. My reasons are, 
that such concessions will not produce harmony among 
the Roman Catholics themselves ; that those among them 
who are most clamorous for the measure care little about 
it but as a step, first, to the overthrow of the Protestant 
establishment in Ireland, as introductory to a separation 
of the two countries — their ultimate aim. . . . Deeming 
the Church establishment not only a fundamental part 
of our Constitution, but one of the greatest upholders and 
propagators of civilisation in our own country, and, lastly, 
the most effectual and main support of religious tolera- 
tion, I cannot but look with jealousy upon measures 
which must reduce her relative influence, unless they be 
accompanied with arrangements, more adequate than any 
yet adopted, for the preservation and increase of that 
influence, to keep pace with the other powers in the 


William Wordsworth to Francis Wrangham 


[He referred to the efforts of a society to distribute 
copies of the Christian Scriptures, which he cordially 
approved of, but added] As to the indirect benefits 
expected from it, as producing a golden age of unanimity 
among Christians, all that I think fume and emptiness; 


far worse. So deeply am I persuaded that discord 
sirtifice, and pride and ambition would be fostered 
ich an approximation and unnatural alliance of sects, 
[ am inclined to think the evil thus produced would 
than outweigh the good done by dispersing the 
•&• • • • 


Mary Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 28th, [1821.] 
ear Sir, 

lave been waiting for your address for some time to 
ou that Fleming's house at the bottom of the hill is 
ed, and that I have a promise of the refusal, and 
fore want your directions about it. Under existing 
oastances I suspect that I am not to have the pleas- 
f taking it for you, but I must hear this from your- 
•efore I give up my claim. Tillbrooke some time ago 
Loned your wise intentions to us, which we had before 
suspected ; indeed Sarah bids me tell you that she 
ilways sure " you were in love^* and that it was you, 
lot your brother (as you cunningly hinted), that was 
come a married man. That your happiness may go 
d your anticipations is the sincere wish of all your 
Is under Nab Scar, who by the bye want no pack- 
from Twining's to remind them of you, and your 
er, and of the days of particular pleasure that you 
d among them. That season has been long gone 
nd Rydal Mount is now as notorious for its indus- 
5 at that time it was for its idleness. The poet 
een busily engaged upon subjects connected with our 


Continental journey, and if you have leisure and inclination 
to call upon Mr. Monkhouse, 34 Gloster Place, you have 
permission to ask for a perusal of certain poems in his 
possession. He was charged not to give copies, and for 
obvious reasons you would not wish for an exception in 
your case. You will also see another late production in 
Gloster Place, which will be shown, I doubt not, with 
no little pride. Miss W. is going on with her journal, 
which will be ready to go to press interspersed with her 
brother's poems, I hope before you return. I do not say 
this seriously^ but we sometimes jestingly talk of raising a 
fund by such means for a second, and a further, trip into 
Italy! ... 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

A thousand thanks for your interesting letter, this 
moment arrived. Luckily the enclosed was detained, or 
I should not have been able to have told you how much 
pleasure yours has given us; yet we have been greatly 
shocked with the sad news of Mary Lamb's recent attack. 
It must have been before the death of her brother, and 
the awakening to that sorrow how very dismal. Your ac- 
count of Charles is just what we expected. And are 
those articles really Coleridge's? It was much more 
pleasant to me to accuse the Blackwoodites of having 
libelled him than to believe that he had really been a 
contributor to the magazine. Besides there seems to me 
to be a perplexity (and even a poverty often) in the 
style^ which do not belong to Coleridge. His matter is, 
God knows, often obscure enough to unlearned readers 
like me. 


My brother very often talks of you, and of our tours 
with you. He has laid no Irish scheme as yet, but 
most likely you will hear of one. 

Your account of William ^ gives great delight to all, yet 
we are hungering after tidings of the beginning of pains- 
taking at his books. 

God bless you ! Believe me, your affectionate friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

[Date unknown, possibly 1821.] 

... A rule which I have inexorably adhered to pre- 
vents me from complying with the request you make. . . . 
Ify determination has been thus far to have no connec- 
tion with any periodical publication. If ever I set it 
iside, it will be probably in the instance of the Retrospec- 
tive J^eview,^ which if it kept to its title would stand 
ipart from contemporary literature and the injurious feel- 
ngs which are too apt to mix with the critical part of 
t I am, sir. 

Very sincerely your obliged servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

1 The poet's son. — Ed. 

2 Published from 1820 to 1854. — Ed. 



William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

[ Date unknown.] 

. . . You will probably see Gifford, the editor of the 
Quarterly Review, Tell him from me, if you think 
proper, that every true-born Englishman disallows the 
pretensions of the Review to the character of a faith- 
ful defender of the institutions of the country, while it 
leaves that infamous publication, Donjuan^ unbranded. 
I do not mean by a formal critique, for it is not worth it 
— it would also tend to keep it in memory — but by some 
decisive words of reprobation, both as to the damnable 
tendency of such works, and as to the despicable quality 
of the powers requisite for their production. 

What avails it to hunt down Shelley and leave Byron 
untouched ? I am persuaded that Don Juan will do more 
harm to the English character than anything of our time; 
not so much as a book, but thousands, who will be 
ashamed to have it in that shape, will fatten upon choice 
bits of it in the shape of extracts. . . . 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

[Postmark, Kendal, i6th Jan., 1822.] 
earest Friend, 

. William and I have walked daily through all the 

y season. . . . William has written some beautiful 

5 in remembrance of our late tour. . . . He never 

anything that was more delightful. He began (as 

inection with my Recollections of a Tour in Scotland^ 

iaying, ** I will write some poems for your journal,** 

thankfully received two or three of them as a trib- 

the journal, which I was making from memoranda 

in our last summer's journey on the Continent; 

is work has grown to such importance (and has 

lued growing) that I have long ceased to consider 

:onnection with my own narrative of events unim- 

it, and lengthy descriptions. . . . The poems are as 

as a descriptive tour, without describing . . . The 

iastical Sonnets^ meanwhile, are at rest. . . . 

orothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

3d March, 1822. 
sar Friend, 

s fit that I should begin with my reason for writing 
1 on the very day of the receipt of your letter, that 
lay not be afflicted with the thought that you had no 
r cast a burthen off your shoulders than another 
eady to be cast upon them. It is very unfair in 
ipondence for one party, in the first motions of 


gratitude for pleasure received, to write off immediately ; 
but indeed it is a species of selfishness of which I confess 
I have been too often guilty. ... I can only say that 
whenever your letters come, sooner or later, they are joy- 
fully received and highly prized ; the oftener the better, 
but however seldom and however slowly, we are never 
inclined to think ourselves neglected or ill-used. My 
brother will, I hope, write to Charles Lamb in the course 
of a few days. He has long talked of doing it ; but you 
know how the mastery of his own thoughts (when engaged 
in composition, as he has lately been) often prevents him 
from fulfilling his best intentions ; and since the weakness 
of his eyes has returned, he has been obliged to fill up all 
spaces of leisure by going into the open air for refresh- 
ment and relief. We are thankful that the inflammation 
(chiefly in the lids) is now much abated. It concerns us 
very much to hear so indifferent an account of Lamb and 
his sister. The death of their brother I have no doubt 
has affected them much more than the death of any 
brother, with whom there had — in near neighbourhood — 
been so little personal or family communication would 
have affected other minds. We deeply lamented their 
loss, and wished to write to them as soon as we heard of 
it ; but it not being the particular duty of any one of us, 
— and a painful task, — we shoved it off, for which we are 
truly sorry, and very much blame ourselves. They are 
too good, and too confiding, to take it unkindly; and 
that thought makes me feel it the more. 

Sergeant Rough was an intimate friend of my brother 
Christopher* at college. I used to hear him much 

1 William Rough (i 772-1838), a conteitaporary of Samuel Taylor 
Coleridge and Christopher Wordsworth at Cambridge, and one of 
the projectors of the University Magazine of 1795* ^^ became a 


spoken of, but never saw him. Poor man 1 his lot in this 
world has been a hard one — a thoughtless wife, and an 
undermining friend — what sorer evils can beset a man ! 
Your affecting comment upon his death reminded me of a 
sonnet of my brother's on the subject of ruined abbeys,^ 
which I will not quote as you will so soon have an oppor- 
tunity of reading the sonnet among the Ecclesiastical 
Sketches, The thought in that part to which I allude is 
taken from George Dyer's History of Cambridge, 

With respect to the tour poems I am afraid you will 
think his notes not sufficiently copious. Prefaces he has 
none, except to the poem on Goddard's death. Your 
suggestion of the bridge at Lucerne set his mind to work; 
and if a happy mood comes on, he is determined even 
yet, though the work is printed, to add a poem on that 
subject. You can have no idea with what earnest pleas- 
ure he seized the idea ; yet, before he began to write at 
all, when he was pondering over his recollections, and ask- 
ing me for hints and thoughts, I mentioned that very sub- 
ject, and he then thought he could make nothing of it. You 
certainly have the gift of setting him on fire. When I 
named (before your letter was read to him) your scheme 
for next autumn, his countenance flushed with pleasure, 
and he exclaimed, "I'll go with him"; and then I ven- 
tured to utter a thought, which had risen before and been 
suppressed in the moment of its rising ! " How / should 
like to go." Presently, however, the conversation took a 
sober turn, — my "unlawful desires" were completely 

barrister at the Inner Temple, and was afterwards Chief Justice of the 
Supreme Court in Ceylon, where he died. He wrote several vol- 
umes of verse, dramas, and miscellaneous poems. — Ed. 

1 See "Old Abbeys," No. xxxv, Part III of the Ecclesiastical 
Sonnets, — Ed. 


checked, — and he concluded that for him the journey 
would be impossible ; " and then," said he, " if you, or 
Mary, or both, were not with me, I should not half enjoy 
it, — and that (so soon again) is impossible." 

We have had a letter from Mr. Monkhouse to-day. 
He talks of taking a house in the neighbourhood of Lon- 
don ; but as they had once an idea of coming into Lan- 
cashire, — which circumstances in Mr. Horrock's family 
have prevented, — we can see no reason why they should 
not, instead, take lodgings for the spring, and early part of 
the summer, in this neighbourhood ; and Miss Hutchinson 
has written to them to that effect. It will be a pity if the 
circumstance of having already taken a house should pre- 
vent our having the pleasure of having them as neigh- 
bours. The Quillinans have taken Mr. Tillbrook's house, 
and will be settled there in about a fortnight: They are 
at present at Lancaster. . . . We are exceedingly sorry 
that the Gees are gone entirely from Rydal. No neigh- 
bours could have been kinder or better suited to us, m 
age and all other respects. Poor Mrs. Gee was called 
away a fortnight ago to attend the sick-bed of one of her 
sisters, and the next week Mr. Gee followed her to be 
present at the sister's funeral. They had before taken a 
house at Keswick; but they are so loth to leave the 
neighbourhood, and us, that they are determined to be at 
Ambleside instead of Keswick, and to get rid of their 
house there. 

We have had a long and interesting letter from Mrs. 
Clarkson, with an account of the manners, characters, 
habits, etc., of the sable Queen, and her daughters. Not- 
withstanding bad times Mrs. C. writes in cheerful spirits, 
and talks of coming into the north this summer ; and we 
really hope it will not end in talk^ as Mr. Clarkson joins 



with her ; and if he once determines, a trifle will not stop 
him. Pray read a paper in the London Magazine by H. 
Coleridge on the "Uses of the Heathen Mythology in 
Poetry." ^ It has pleased us very much. The style is 
wonderful, for so young a man ; so little of effort and no 
affectation. Poor Coleridge ! have you seen his adver- 
tisement for pupils? 2 How beautifully Charles Lamb 
speaks of Grays Inn gardens, and his meeting with the 
old actor there. 

Miss Hutchinson has just reminded me that you are 
now on the circuit. Perhaps I might have something to 
add before your return ; but, as a letter is safe, and off 
my mind, when put into the post office, — and it will keep 
very well, and be ready to welcome you when you return to 
your solitary chambers, — I will e'en send it off. At that 
time you may have more leisure than at any other, to 
read — perhaps I ought to say decipher — my scrawling. 
I hope the poems will then be published ; but if not, you 
must not indulge the hope of finding the " Bridge of Lu- 
cem " among them. I do not think that work can be 
accomplished in time, much as my brother would wish it; 
but you may depend upon it that something will come of 
your suggestion. 

1 This article appeared in Vol. V, p. 113, of the London Maga- 
zim. — Ed. 

3 The following paragraph appeared in ordinary type, not as an 
advertisement, in The Courier of Monday evening, Feb. 25, 1822. 
" Mr. Coleridge proposes to devote a determinate portion of each 
week to a small and select number of gentlemen not younger than 
19 or 20, for the purpose of assisting them in the formation of their 
minds and the regulation of their studies. The plan, which is divided 
between direct instruction and conversation, the place, and other 
particulars may be learnt by personal application to Mr. Coleridge 
at Highgate." — Ed. 


My sister says, " Mind you thank Mr. Robinson a 
hundred times for his kindness to Willy." Poor little 
fellow I he will certainly I think be removed from the 
Charter-house, but my brother is undecided in the choice 
of another school. We have every reason to be dissatis- 
fied with his late progress ; rather I should say we are 
satisfied he has made no progress at all in learning. All 
join in kind remembrances. Remember, when you happen 
to have half an hour's leisure, we shall always be glad to 
hear from you. You must think nothing of what I have j^ 
said of my brother's longings to roam with you among 
the Tyrolese. It will be quite impossible, I am sure. 
God bless you. Believe me, • 

Your grateful and affectionate friend, C 

D. Wordsworth. 

The transcript of my journal is nearly finished. There 
is so much of it that I am sure it will be dull reading to 
those who have never been in those countries; and, even \i 
to such, I think much of it at least must be tedious. My 
brother is interested when I read it to him. So are the 
young ones; but they have not been much tried. My 
sister, too, never complains of over much, but that is }^ 
because the subject is so interesting to her. When we 
meet, you shall read as much, or as little, of my journal 
as you like. I long to try it on you and Mr. Monk- 
house I Mary seems to have succeeded so well in the ja 
brief way^ that I can hardly hope my lengthiness will 
interest in like degree. I shall not read hers till my 
transcript is finished. 


^ A reference to Mrs. Wordsworth's shorter chronicle of the 
tour. — Ed. 



When you next write pray sign your name at full 
length. This I particularly request for the settling of a 
dispute among us. 

William Wordsworth to Richard Sharp 

Rydal Mount, April 16, [Postmark, 1822.] 
My dear Sir, 

I took the liberty of sending you the Memorials^ for 
everything of this sort is a liberty (inasmuch as, to use 
Gibbon's phrase, it levies a tax of civility upon the 
receiving party), as a small acknowledgment of the great 
advantage I and my fellow-travellers had derived from 
your directions; which — as you might observe by the 
order in which the poems are placed, and the limits of 
our tour — we almost literally followed. The Ecclesi- 
astical Sketches were offered to your notice merely as a 
contemporary publication. It gratifies me that you think 
well of these poems ; but, I own, I am disappointed that 
they should have afforded you less pleasure than a single 
piece, which, from the very nature of it, as allegorical, 
and even imperfectly so, would horrify a German critic ; 
and, whatever may be thought of the Germans as poets, 
there is no doubt of their being the best critics in Europe. 
But I think I have hit upon the secret. You, like myself, 
are — as Smollett says in his translation of the French 
phrase — no longer a chicken; and your heart beat in 
recollection of your late glorious performance, which has 
ranked you as a demigod among tourists — 

Mounting from glorious deed to deed, 
As thou from clime to clime didst lead. 


You recollect that Gray, in one of his letters, affirms 
that description, — he means of natural scenery and the 
operations of Nature, — though an admirable ornament, 
ought ntver to be the subject of poetry. How many 
exclusive dogmas have been laid down, which genius 
from age to age has triumphantly refuted 1 and grossly 
should I be deceived if, speaking freely to you as an old 
friend, these local poems do not contain many proofs that 
Gray was as much in the wrong in this interdict, as any 
critical brother who may have framed his canons without 
a spark of inspiration or poetry to guide him. . . . 

The Ecclesiastical Sketches labour under one obvious 
disadvantage, that they can only present themselves as a 
whole to the reader, who is pretty well acquainted with 
the history of this country; and, as separate pieces, 
several of them suffer as poetry from the matter of fact, 
there being unavoidably in all history — except as it is a 
mere suggestion — something that enslaves the fancy. 
But there are in those poems several continuous strains, 
not in the least degree liable to this objection. I will 
only mention two : the sonnets on The Dissolution of the 
Monasteries^ and almost the whole of the last part, from 
the picture of England after the Revolution, scattered 
over with Protestant churches, till the conclusion. Pray 
read again from ** Open your Gates, ye everlasting Piles " 
to the end, and then turn to your Enterprise, Has the 
Continent driven the North out of your estimation ? . . . 

I have in the press a little book on the Lakes, contain- 
ing some illustrative remarks on Swiss scenery. If I 
have fallen into any errors, I know no one better able to 
correct them than yourself, and should the book (which I 
must mention is chiefly a republication) meet your eye, 
pray point out to me the mistakes. The part relating to 


Switzerland is new. One favour leads often to the ask- 
ing of another. May I beg of you a sketch for a tour in 
North Wales? It is thirty years since I was in that 
country, and new ways must have been opened up since 
that time. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Viscount Lowtker 

Rydal Mount, 19th April, 1822. 

My dear Lord Lowther, 

It is a long time since any communication passed 
between us. Nothing has occurred in this neighbourhood 
which was likely to interest you. The " hardness of the 
times" — a phrase with which you must be pretty well 
tired — urges me to mention to you a case in which I am 
not a little interested, and Mrs. Wordsworth still more 
so, as the party is her brother. To come at once to the 
point. In the wide circle of your acquaintance, does any 
one want a land agent of mature experience in agricul- 
ture, and who can be recommended as a thoroughly con- 
scientious and honourable man, of excellent temper and 
mild manners. Mr. Thomas Hutchinson — the person 
in question — was brought up to farming, under his uncle 
Mr. Hutchinson of Sockburn, in Durham, — a person of 
much note as being a principal teacher of the improve- 
ments in breeding cattle, for which Durham and the ad- 
joining part of Yorkshire have become so famous. About 
1808, knowing that Wales was backward in agricul- 
ture, he took a farm, under Mr. Frankland Lewes in 
Radnorshire, and since that period has been a leading 
agriculturist in that quarter, to its great improvement; 


but I am sorry to say that he has suifered from the 
change of times, to such a degree that his private fortune 
of not less than ;^i 4,000 has been so reduced as to 
determine him to retire from farming, if he can find a 
situation such as I have named. 

During the first years of his lease, which was fourteen 
years, he sunk large sums in improvements ; and when he 
looked for his return, the " times changed " ; and not- 
withstanding his judgment, his prudence, and his care, |i: 
he must have gone to ruin, if it had not been for his ^ 
private resources. Mr. Lewes, who I remember said in 
Parliament, in speaking against the Corn-Bill, that ht 
was prepared to reduce his rents, has constantly refused 
to do so in this case ; or to relinquish the lease till now, 
when it is nearly expired. He had a fat tenant, and has 
kept him by force, till he is becoming lean as a church- a 
mouse. Mr. Lewes conditionally remitted the landlord 
the amount of income tax, when the property tax was 

I must add, that I have known Mr. Hutchinson from 
his childhood, and therefore can speak confidently to his 
moral merits, his daily habits, and the soundness of his 
principles as a good subject ; and am certain that he is 
not reduced to this situation by any fault of his own. 
He is forty-seven years of age, prudently did not marry \^ 
early in life. His eldest child is about eight years of , 
age ; he has still enough left for his own needs, but he 
is naturally anxious for the sake of his children. 

You will excuse this long story; but, if you should 
have an opportunity of serving this excellent man in the 
way in 'w^hich he wishes to be, he would prove an invalu- 
able servant. . . . 



' I 









William Wordsworth to Walter Savage Landor 

Rydal Mount, April 20th, [1822.] 
My dear Sir, 

I am surprised, and rather sorry, when I hear you say 
you read little, because you are removed from the pres- 
sure of the trash, which, hourly issuing from the press in 
England, tends to make the very name of writing books 
disgusting. I am so situated as to see little of it, but 
one cannot stop one's ears, and I sometimes envy you that 
distance which separates you altogether from this intru- 
sion. . . . We have as a near neighbour an old acquaint- 
ance of yours, Mr. Quillinan, who knew you at Bath. He 
was lately of the Third Dragoon Guards, but has retired on 
half-pay. He married a daughter of Sir Egerton Brydges, 
and they live, with two nice children, at the foot of our 
hill. He begs to be kindly remembered to you. 

In respect to Latin poetry, I ought to tell you that I 
am no judge, except upon general principles. I never 
practised Latin verse, not having been educated at one 
of the public schools. My acquaintance with Virgil, 
Horace, Lucretius, and Catullus is intimate ; but as I 
never read them with a critical view to composition, 
great faults in language might be committed which would 
escape my notice. Any opinion of mine, therefore, on 
points of classical nicety would be of no value, should I 
be so inconsiderate as to offer it. A few days ago, being 
something better in my sight, I read your Sponsalia, It 
is full of spirit and animation, and is probably of that 
style of versification which suits the subject ; yet, if you 
thought proper, you could produce, I think, a richer 
harmony ; and I met some serious inaccuracies in the 


punctuation. ... I must express a wish, however, that 
you would gratify us by writing in English. There are 
noble and stirring things in all that you have written in 
your native tongue, and that is enough for me. In your 
Simonidea^ which I saw some years ago at Mr. Southey's, 
I was pleased to find rather an out-of-the-way image, in 
which the present hour is compared to the shade on the 
dial. It is a singular coincidence, that in the year 1793, 
when I first became an author, I illustrated the sentiment 
precisely in the same manner. In the same work you 
commend the fine conclusion of RussePs sonnet upon 
Philoctetes, and depreciate that form of composition. I 
do not wonder at this. I used to think it egregiously 
absurd, though the greatest poets since the revival of 
literature have written in it. Many years ago my sister 
happened to read to me the sonnets of Milton, which I 
could at that time repeat; but somehow or other I was 
singularly struck with the style of harmony, and the 
gravity, and republican austerity of those compositions. 
In the course of the same afternoon I produced three 
sonnets, and soon after many others; since that time, 
and from want of resolution to take up anything of 
length, I have filled up many a moment in writing son- 
nets, which, if I had never, fallen into the practice, might 
easily have been better employed. The Excursion is 
proud of your approbation. The Recluse has had a long 
sleep, save in my thoughts ; my MSS. are so ill-penned 
and blurred that they are useless to all btit myself ; and 
at present I cannot face them. But if my stomach can 
be preserved in tolerable order, I hope you will hear of 
me again in the character chosen for the title of that 
poem. I am glad to hear from you. I remain faith- 
fully yours, ^„_ Wordsworth. 


othy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, April 21, [1822.] 
r Friend, 
>u have npt seen Mr. Monkhouse before this 

you, no doubt you will seek him out, or he you, 
ther day passes over your heads ; therefore I need 
you any Rydal news. ... We were truly sorry, 
may believe, to part with him so soon, and for 
5 as well as our own ; for he is leaving this coun- 

at the time when he, being an ardent and very 
ful angler, would find the most pleasure here. I 
ry much for that reason, that his stay had been 
her than in the autumn. Besides, ^' a bird in the 
worth two in the bush." We know not what may 

to prevent his fulfilling his present scheme of 
ig hither. However, having taken a house exactly 
vife's mind and. his own is a good security that 

but necessity will turn him aside. Mrs. Monk- 
rill be our neighbour at the foot of the hill, so that 

not find her situation lonely. . . . 
oubt you are as busy as possible, yet I have been 
•nable enough not to expect to hear from you, but 
• think to myself, " Perhaps there may be a letter 
[r. Robinson to-day ! "... If you had been a 
person, but I am glad you are not, and (as poor 
ge used to say) I "like you the better there/i7r^," 
rtainly would have written after having looked 
e Memorials (finding yourself one of the dedi- 
to express your sense of the high honour. . . . 
ly, I should like to know how you like the whole 



volume, ^ which poems you like best, and what you do 
not like ; if any . . . and my brother wishes, too, to know 
if the Desultory Stanzas^ have given you pleasure, as 
they were inspired by your letter. . . . 

It is generally supposed that Longman has an inter- 
est in the Literary Gazette, Do you know whether he 
actually has, or has not? If he has, he has used my 
brother very ill by suffering his Ecclesiastical Sketches 
and Memorials to be reviewed by a person who could 
give such a senseless criticism. Besides, a sacrifice is 
made of W. Wordsworth to obtain for the Literary 
Gazette the reputation of impartiality. This is clearly 
the object of the criticism, as is plain from the last 
paragraph of the review of the Memorials ; wherein the 
writer declares that that journal proves its impartiality 
by censuring without reserve those whom he is pleased to 
call the heads of their several schools, when they write 
such stuff as Mr. W. has now given to the public. ... It 
would not have been worth while to have said so much 
about so despicable a criticism, if it were not on account 
of my brother's connection with Longman. We should 
not otherwise have given it a thought, after the trifling 
vexation that such an opinion of the poems should even 
have preceded their publication, robbing us of the little 
profit which might have arisen from the first sale — the 
only profit which could be expected from the^e little 
volumes. . . . 

We had a letter from my brother Christopher a few 
days ago. He is in excellent health and good spirits, 
but so busy that he has hardly time to think of his own 
affairs, and cannot yet say whether it will be in his power 

1 The Memorials of a Tour on the Continent (1822). — Ed. 

2 The last poem in the Memorials, — Ed. 



to come into the north this summer. We expect the 
Clarksons in a few weeks. . . . 

My brother is anxious to know what your plans are 
for the autumn, not that there is the smallest chance of 
his benefiting by them; but being so fond of travelling 
himself, he sympathizes with you in all your hopes and 
schemes, in that line. His eyes are better, yet almost 
useless for reading. I think he will satisfy himself this 
summer with a little tour not far from home. . . . We 
had an interesting letter from Charles Lamb not long 
ago. Pray mention him and his sister when you write; 
but I fear you do not see them often, as they are so 
much in the country. How is poor Barry Cornwall.? 
I mean Mr. Proctor. When I asked the question I had 
forgotten that it was not his true name. We were very 
sorry to hear of his illness. The Montagus, I doubt not, 
are very kind to him. Miss Hutchinson, a determined 
French scholar, is puzzling over her lesson beside me, 
and every two minutes she asks me the meaning of a 
word. She gets on admirably, without having studied a 
word of the grammar, and will very soon be a fluent 
translator, stimulated by the hope, at some time or other, 
of travelling on the Continent, and being able at least to 
make her wants known on French ground. She begs her 
kind regards to you. My sister, were she here, would 
send her love. Adieu. Believe me. 

Affectionately yours, 

D. Wordsworth. 



William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Rydal Mount, June 12th, 1822. 
[Postmark, June 21, 1822.] 
Dear Sir, . 

. . . Mrs. W. begs you to be so kind as to mention to 
Mr. C. that the more she is familiar with the bust the 
more she likes it, which is the case with all my family. 
As to my own opinion, it can be of little value as to the 
likeness, but as a work of fine art, I may be excused if I 
say that it seems to me fully entitled to that praise which 
is universally given to Mr. Chantrey's labours. 

The state of my eyes for a long time has only allowed 
me to read books of large print. ... I have not yet been 
able to make myself acquainted with more than a few of 
the first scenes of your drama,^ one of your ballads, and 
the songs. I am therefore prevented from accompany- 
ing my thanks with those notices which to an intelligent 
author give such an acknowledgment its principal value. 
The songs appear to me full as good as those of Bums, 
with the exception of a very few of his best ; and The Mer- 
maid is wild, tender, and full of spirit. The little I have 
seen of the play I liked, especially the speeches of the 
spirits, and that of Macgee, page 7. I hope, in a little 
time, to be acquainted with the rest of the volume. . . . 

I remain, dear sir, very sincerely yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

1 Sir Marmaduke Maxwell (1822). — Ed. 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Marshall 

13th June, 1822. 

. . . The accident ^ might have been terrible. Had the 
horse been one inch nearer the wall, his death would have 
been inevitable. The sharp stone, which gave a grazing 
side cut to the skull, would have penetrated into the head. 
... It happened, not at Haweswater, but about two miles 
on this side of Bampton. My brother had kind and judi- 
cious friends at hand. He was removed to Dr. Scatter- 
thwaite's, and very soon after he reached that quiet 
comfortable house. Dr. Harrison arrived. 


William Wordsworth to William Pearson 

1st August, 1822. 
Dear Sir, 

The weather having been so bad, you will scarcely have 
set out on your tour, therefore I hope these few notes will 
be in time to be of service to you. 

We were pleased with the vale of Nith. The ruins of 
Lincluden Abbey or Priory are near Dumfries, on the road 
up the vale; but little of them remains. Drumlanrig, 
the mansion of the late Duke of Queensberry, which 
is a long way up the vale, we did not see — turning off 
to Leadhills, a village inhabited by miners ; thence noth- 
ing interesting to Lanark; at Lanark, falls of the Clyde 
and Mr. Owen's establishment.^ Beautiful country to 

1 To her brother. — Ed. 

• A spinning factory founded by Robert Owen, the communist, 
in behalf of his workers. — Ed. 


Hamilton, where in the duke's palace is a fine collection of 
pictures. Thence to Bothwell Castle, Glasgow, Dumbar- 
ton, Loch Lomond, Luss, fine view of the islands of 
Loch Lomond from the top of Inchtavannach, Tarbet, 
Arrochar, Glen Croe, Inverary, Kilchurn Castle on Loch 
Awe, very striking; Dalmally. Thence we went to Loch 
Etive, to Portnacrosk on Loch Linnhe, interesting all 
the way up to Ballachulish ; from hence we went up 

Glen Coe and back to B . Glen Coe very sublime. 

By Fort William, Fort Augustus to the Fall of Foyers, 
very fine; and so on to Inverness, from whence, fifteen 
miles north to some beautiful saw mills upon the river 
Bewley, the scenery of which is very romantic. 

Homeward, by the main coach-road to Blair Athole ; a 
little before reaching it you cross the stream of Bruar 
below the water-falls, — interesting on Burns's account, — 
Killicrankie and Fascally on the way to Dunkeld, very 
striking; Dunkeld also interesting. The narrow glen,^ 
a pleasing solitude. I have omitted Killin at the head of 
Loch Tay and the Trossachs, as they lie in the country 
between the two main roads ; but the Trossachs are very 
fine, and Killin a striking situation. By Stirling to Edin- 
burgh; I have nothing more to say, unless I mention 
Perth, which lies low, in a beautiful valley. 

The letter you sent to the Gazette was just the thing, 
and I hope would produce some effect. Wishing you fine 
weather and a pleasant journey, 

I remain, dear sir. 

With very sincere regard, yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

1 " The Sma Glen," between Dunkeld and Crieff. In the 
Memorials of a Tour in Scotland (1803), Wordsworth called it, and 
his poem, Glen Altnain^ or '' the narrow glen." — Ed. 


William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers 

LowTHER Castle, [Sept 16, 1822.] 
My dear Rogers, 

It gave me great pleasure to hear from our common 
friend, Sharp, that you had returned from the Continent 
in such excellent health, which I hope you will continue 
to enjoy in spite of our fogs, rains, east-winds, coal fires, 
and other clogs upon light spirits and free breathing. I 
have long wished to write to you on a little affair of my 
own, or rather of my sister's, and the facility of procur- 
ing a frank in this house has left my procrastinating habit ' 
without excuse. Some time ago you expressed (as per- 
haps you will remember) a wish that my sister would 
publish her recollections of her Scotch tour, and you 
interested yourself so far in the scheme as kindly to offer 
to assist in disposing of it to a publisher for her advan- 
tage. We know that your skill and experience in these 
matters are great, and she is now disposed to profit by 
them, provided you continue to think as favourably of the 
measure as heretofore. The fact is, she was so much 
gratified by her tour in Switzerland that she has a strong 
wish to add to her knowledge of that country, and to 
extend her ramble to some part of Italy. As her own 
little fortune is not sufficient to justify a step of this kind, 
she has no hope of revisiting those countries, unless an 
adequate sum could be procured through the means of 
this MS. You are now fairly in possession of her motives ; 
if you still think that the publication would do her no dis- 
credit, and are of opinion that a respectable sum of money 
might be had for it (which she has no chance of effecting 
except through your exertion) she would be much obliged, 


as I also should be, if you would undertake to manage 
the bargain, and the MS. shall be sent you as soon as it 
is revised. She has further to beg thlt you would be so 
kind as to look it over, and strike out what you think 
might be better omitted. 

I detected you in a small collection of poems entitled 
Italy which we all read with much pleasure. Venice^ 
and The Brides of Venice (they were the titles, I think), 
please as much as any ; some parts of the Venice are par- 
ticularly fine. I had no fault to find, except \qo strong a 
leaning to the pithy and concise, and to some peculiar- 
ities of versification which occur perhaps too often. . . . 
Believe me, my dear Rogers, 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Richard Sharp 

October 3, 1822. 
My dear Sir, 

I hope you will not think that I trespass too much 
upon your friendly disposition when I beg that, if it should 
be necessary, you would take some little trouble on my 
account in a money transaction. We have lodged nearly 
;^2ooo of our little fortune in the French funds, but having 
no reliance on the good faith of that government, I am 
anxious, in case its stability should receive a shock, to 
sell out with expedition ; which, residing at such a dis- 
tance from town as I do, would be impossible, unless some 
friend would interest himself on my account. . . . 


I have had a kind letter from Rogers in answer to 
mine about my sister's publication. He proffers every 
assistance, but is strongly against my proposal to sell the 
copyright at once. If you happen to see him shortly, say 
that my sister is at present in Scotland ; and that, as soon 
as she returns, we will write to him. 

During these last three weeks we have had a glorious 
season, such a one as scarcely occurs in seven years. 
Would that you and Rogers had been here to enjoy it. 
Even he could not have regretted Italy, and I am sure 
you would not. 

We hope that your sister was benefited by her tour. 
With best regards from Mrs. Wordsworth, 

I remain, my dear sir, 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Rydal Mount, Wednesday, October 24th, [1822.] 

My dear Friend, 

... At the end of my letter I must copy a parody 
(which I hope will make you laugh), that William and 
Sarah threw off last Sunday afternoon. They had been 
talking of Mr. Clarkson's kindness to every human being, 
especially of his perseverance in the African cause, and 
of his last act of kindness to the distressed negro widow 
and her family. Tender thoughts of merriment came with 
the image of the sable princess by your fireside. The first 
stanza of Ben Jonson's poem slipped from William's lips 


in a parody, and together they finished it with much loving 
fun. Oh ! how they laughed ! I heard them in my room 
upstairs, and wondered what they were about ; and, when 
it was finished, I claimed the privilege of sending it to 
you. . . . Ben Jonson's poem begins " Queen and hunt- 
ress chaste and fair." You must know it. 

Queen and negress chaste and fair ! 

Christophe now is laid asleep 
Seated in a British chair. 
State in humbler manner keep 

Shine for Clarkson's pure delight 

Negro princess, ebon bright ! 

Let not " Willy's " ^ holy shade 

Interpose at envy's call, 
Hayti's shining queen was made 
To illumine Playford hall, 

Bless it then ^ith constant light, 

Negress excellently bright I 

Lay thy diadem apart, 

Pomp has been a sad deceiver. 
Through thy champion's faithful heart 
Joy be poured, and thou the giver. 
Thou that mak's't a day of night 
Sable princess, ebon bright. 

1 Mrs. Wilberforce calls her husband by that pretty diminutive 
« Willy." You must have heard her. D. W. 



William Wordsworth to Richard Sharp 

Rydal Mount, November 12, [1822.] 
My dear Sir, 

. . . Dorothy is at Stockton upon Tees. She will be 
consulted by letter upon your obliging offer, of which I 
know she will be duly sensible. 

My sister returned from Scotland a few days since. . . . 
She went from Edinburgh to Stirling by water, thence to 
Glasgow, chiefly by the track-boat, thence to Dumbarton 
and to Rob Roy's Caves, and Tarbet by the steamboat, 
to Inveraray by land, and returned to Glasgow by steam ; 
coming home by Lanark, etc. She has made notes of her 
tour, which are very amusing, particularly as a contrast to 
the loneliness of her former mode of travelling. 

I was not aware how mtich I was asking when I 

requested you to undertake my little concern in the 

French funds, or I should not have ventured to make 

the proposal. I knew indeed that everybody must be 

averse to incur such a responsibility, but was encouraged 

to hope that your confidence — that, whatever the result 

proved, I should not complain, but should be content — 

would do away much of your dislike in my particular 

case. On carefully referring to your letter I feel myself 

not justified in expressing the wish that you should act 

for me. At present I have only to say that I should be 

willing to stand a few of the depressions of the French 

funds, even if considerable, provided I could feel assured 

that the French government would honestly abide by its 

engagements. I am not anxious for profit, by selling in 

and out ; or desirous to have the command of my money. 


All I look for, for some years to come, is the regular pay- 
ment of good interest which I now have. Were I to take 
the money out, I should not know what to do with it. 
After stating this, as the principal point I look to, and 
the only one to me of great importance, I may add that I 
should be perfectly contented to have my cock-boat tied 
to your seventy-four. If you thought it advisable to sell 
out, so should I. Therefore should you see reason to 
change, I have only to beg that you will be so kind as to 
let me know. . . . ^^^ Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

[Dec. 21, 1822.] 
My dear Friend, 

Disappointment often follows hope long deferred. Not 
so in our case, when your promised letter arrived ; which 
did, and does^ interest us much more than you could pos- 
sibly imagine, when you kindly took so much trouble for 
us. It has had many readings ; and is not yet laid up 
among our records ; but will for some time be kept out 
for reference and re-perusal. You do not say you intend 
a second part ; but that hint at the last, that you could 
fill another letter with what you saw, and observed, of the 
people (no doubt including many adventures, character- 
istic both of you and of them), set our greedy desires 
at work. We are not unreasonable enough to ask the 
favour ; but if you could find leisure, and could make of 
it a pleasant task, it would render this — your delight- 
ful sketch of cities, towns, ruins, and scenery — quite 
complete. I have had many a transient wish that we 
could have been with you — and exclaimed to my brother, 


" Nay, had / been there " i.e. at Grenoble, " no weather 
should have deterred him — we would have seen the 
Grande Chartreuse"; but he interposed to check my 
boasting, with the irrevocable decree that no female is to 
tread on that sacred ground. Seriously, however, my 
brother is very sorry that you should have missed the 
Chartreuse. I do not think that any one spot which he 
visited, during his youthful travels with Robert Jones, 
made so great an in^pression on his mind; and, in my 
young days, he used to talk so much of it to me, that it 
was a great disappointment when I found that the Char- 
treuse was not to come into our tour. We were all mor- 
tified that you turned away from the Pyrenees, yet the 
reason was quite sufficient, — being alone ; not that per- 
haps you would have been safer with a companion, but 
you would have thought less of danger, and most likely 
none would have reached you; though in the unsettled 
state of the country, with the recent provocation you 
mention, you probably made a wiser choice than you 
might have done, under the temptation of pleasant com- 
pany. As to Italy, I do not so much lament that you 
did not go thither, for perhaps the scheme we have so 
often talked of may at some time be accomplished ; and 
then we shall once again be fellow-travellers. . . . 

As you are so much interested in the Ecclesiastical Son- 
nets^ William will send you hereafter a poem which he has 
just written upon the foundation of a church which Lady 
Fleming is about to erect at Rydal.^ It is about eighty 
lines. I like it much. 

My brother, who is now beside me, desires sincere 
remembrances. He tells me that he sympathises with 

1 To the Lady Flemingy on seeing the Foundation preparing for 
the Erection of Rydal Chapel ^ Westmoreland. — Ed. 


you entirely in what you say respecting the interference 
of France with Spain. 

By self-devoted Moscow, by the blaze 
Of that dread sacrifice, by Russian blood 
Lavished in fight with desperate hardihood, 
The impassive elements no claim shall raise 
To rob our human nature of his praise. 
Enough was done and sufEered, to insure 
Final deliverance, absolute and pure; 
Enough for faith, tracking the beaten ways 
Of Providence. But now did the Most High 
Exalt his still small voice, his wrath unshroud, 
And lay his justice bare to mortal eye; 
He who, of yore, by miracle spake loud 
As openly that purpose here avow'd. 
Which only madness ventures to defy.^ 

1 This sonnet may have been written soon after the retreat of 
Napoleon from Moscow in 1812, but more probably not till 1822 ; and 
it was not published till 1827. As the version given in this letter of 
Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson, in 1822, is very 
different from that which was subsequently printed by her brother, and 
as this sonnet was accidentally omitted from the Eversley edition of 
the poems, the text of 1832 may be given in a footnote. 

By Moscow self-devoted to a blaze 

Of dreadful sacrifice ; by Russian blood 

Lavished in fight with desperate hardihood ; 

The unfeeling elements no claim shall raise 

To rob our human-nature of just praise 

For what she did and suffered. Pledges sure 

Of a deliverance absolute and pure 

She gave, if faith might tread the beaten ways 

Of Providence. But now did the Most High 

Exalt his still small voice ; to quell that host 

Gathered his power, a manifest ally ; 

He, whose heaped waves confounded the proud boast 

Of Pharaoh, said to Famine, Snow, and Frost, 

" Finish the strife by deadliest victory ! " -g^ 


When you see Mr. Monkhouse you will read the sonnet 
to him, as it is always a treat for him to have a few verses 
from Rydal Mount. The guerilla sonnets must have been 
selected by the newspaper editor on account of the cir- 
cumstances of the times. We had not seen, or heard of 
them. The French have stayed their hands, it is to be 
hoped, for the present ; but whether they meddle or not, 
I think it is very likely that something more may come 
out of my brother in connexion with Spain ; and certainly 
ivilly if they do, after all, send their armies across the Pyr- 
enees. . . . We shall be delighted to see Elia's Essays 
collected in a book by themselves. I hope they will soon 
appear. Thank you for your good account of Miss Lamb. 
Pray give my kind love to her, and her brother. They 
will be glad to hear that Miss Hutchinson talks of going to 
London in the spring. She often speaks of the pleasure 
she shall have in seeing them ; and, I assure you, she does 
*not forget you, in numbering her London friends. 

We have been much concerned at the recent accounts of 
Mrs. Monkhouse's state of health. I hope you see them as 
often as ever you can. There is no one so likely to cheer 
our good friend as yourself, when his spirits are sinking 
under anxiety during his wife's confinement to the sofa. 

This is a sad dull letter in return for yours, and I am 
ashamed of blots, scrawling with a bad pen, etc., etc., 
ashamed indeed, after your legible penmanship, and to 
write so to vou I who repaired my loss in the vale of Leuk 
with such a nice silver pen, which I still daily use 1 It 
is almost like ingratitude. We all join in wishing you 
as happy a coming year as the last, with your usual good 
' health and spirits. God bless you ! Believe me 

Ever your faithful and affectionate friend, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Richard Sharp 

My dear Sir, 

Many thanks for your kindness in meeting my wishes 
so promptly. Your view of the case appears quite just, 
but it is not probable that, if the present French minis- 
ters can keep their ground, the death of the king would 
prove less injurious to the credit of the government ; as 
I understand that their system is approved of by the 
heir to the throne, and his friends. There is yet another 
reason for confidence, — the desire which the Continental 
Powers have to raise the credit of their funds, from the 
conviction that public credit enabled England principally 
to make such mighty exertions during the late war. Nev- 
ertheless, I know how difficult it is for unprincipled men 
to resist a temptation of present advantage for a remote 
benefit; and I regard the French as destitute of public 

I should be most happy to submit the whole of my 
little venture to your discretion; and with this view, I 
have requested Mr. Cookson to deposit the certificate in 
your hands, to sell out or leave in as you judge best, and 
I should be thankful for instructions how to vest you 
with the necessary powers, as something more I appre- 
hend must be wanting. 

You talked of going to the Continent in the spring. 
This morning the wind is blowing a perfect hurricane,; 
tearing the leaves of the trees in myriads, so that the 
splendour of the autumn is destroyed. . . . 


How singular is the fate of Fonthill ! ^ The papers 
give a sentimental and silly account of the place, but one 
cannot help longing to see it, with all its wonders ! 

With best regards from Mrs. Wordsworth, I remain. 

Faithfully, your obedient friend, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Mrs, Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

[Probably 1822.] 
My dear Sir, 

Your friendly and very acceptable present arrived at 
Rydal Mount yesterday. I have not yet opened the cask, 
but doubt not that the sugar is in excellent condition ; 
and it could not have come more opportunely than now, 
when we are threatened with a serious rise in the price 
of an article, which, as Christmas pies will ere long be 
called for, must be in great requisition. I lose no time in 
thanking you for this your kind remembrance; though, 
barren as a letter just now from me will be, I should have 
been loth to trouble you with one, had I not the tempta- 
tion of procuring a frank, and probably an additional note 
from William, who is at present either at the house of the 
Member for Yorkshire, Mr. Marshall, or at Lowther. 

W. is paying his last summer visits for this season; 
our latest lingerers after pleasure have departed. Miss 
Wordsworth we expect at home (she having been an 
absentee for ten months) in the course of the next fort- 
night ; so that after the rejoicings for her return are 

1 FonthiU Abbey, in WUtshire. — Ed. 


over, we look forward to a quiet and industrious winter 
without any harassing fears that we are to be turned 
out of our favoured residence, a fear that haunted us — 
if I remember right — the last time I had the pleasure of 
writing to you.^ 

I can now look forward to the hope that, as soon as 
you like, after the cuckoo arrives, you will not let another 
season pass without introducing Mrs. Kenyon to us. If 
not, I shall begin to suspect that you think the influence 
of Idle Mount may interfere with, and have a bad effect 
upon, the more industrious habits of your good wife ; and 
that you had best keep her out of the way of that castle 
of indolence. 

1 See the lines entitled Composed when a Probability existed of 
our being obliged to quit Rydal Mount as a Residence. Poetical Worh^ 
Eversley edition, Vol. VIII, p. 289. — Ed. 




Dorothy Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers 

Rydal Mount, Jan. 3d, 1823. 
My dear Sir, 

As you have no doubt heard, by a message sent from 
my brother through Mr. Sharp, I happened to be in 
Scotland^ when your letter arrived, where (having intended 
to be absent from home only a fortnight) I was detained 
seven weeks by the illness of my fellow traveller.* . . . 

I cannot but be flattered by your thinking so well of 
my journal ' as to recommend (indirectly at least) that I 
should not part with all power over it, till its fortune has 
been tried. You will not be surprised, however, that I am 
not so hopeful; and that I am apprehensive that, after 
having encountered the unpleasantness of coming before 
the public, I might not be assisted in attaining my object. 
I have, then, to ask whether a middle course be not pos- 
sible, that is, whether your favourable opinion, confirmed 
perhaps by some other good judges, might not induce a 
bookseller to give a certain sum for the right to publish a 
given number of copies. In fact, I find it next to impos- 
sible to make up my mind to sacrifice my privacy for a 

1 In September and October, 1822. — Ed. 

* Joanna Hutchinson. — Ed. 

* Journal of a Tour on the Continent (1820). — Ed. 


certainty less than two hundred pounds — ^a sum which 
would effectually aid me in accomplishing the ramble I so 
much, and I hope not unwisely, wish for.^ . . . 

I have nothing further to say, for it is superfluous to 
trouble you with my scruples, and the fears which I have 
that a work of such slight pretensions will be wholly over- 
looked in this writing and publishing — especially tour- 
writing and /(^«r-publishing — age ; and when factions and 
parties, literary and political, are so busy in endeavouring 
to stifle all attempts to interest, however pure from any 
taint of the world, and however humble in their claims. 

My brother begs me to say that it gratified him to hear 
you were pleased with his late publications. In the 
Memorials he himself likes best the Stanzas upon Bin- 
sUdeln^ the Three Cottage Girls ^ and, above all, the Eclipse 
upon the Lake of Lugano; and, in the Sketches the suc- 
cession of those on the Reformation, and those towards 
the conclusion of the third part. Mr. Sharp liked best 
the poem To Enterprise^ which surprised my brother a 
good deal.' ... 

If you knew how much it has cost me to settle the affair 
of this proposed publication in my mind, as far as I have 
now done, I am sure you would deem me sufficiently 
excused for having so long delayed answering your most 
obliging letter. I have still to add, that if there be a pros- 
pect that any bookseller will undertake the publication, 

1 This journal was never published in full. Extracts from it will 
be found in the Eversley edition oi Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth^ 
Vol. II, pp. 163-259. — Ed. 

2 This refers to the poem entitled Composed in one of ihe Catholic 
Cantons. — Ed. 

* This poem was originally included in the Memorials of a Tour 
on the Continent (1822) ; and afterwards placed amongst the Poems 
of the Imagination, — Ed. 


I will immediately prepare a corrected copy to be sent 
to you, and I shall trust to your kindness for taking the 
trouble to look over it, and to mark whatever passages 
you may think too trivial for publication, or in any other 
respect much amiss. . . . Believe me, dear sir, yours 
gratefully and with sincere esteem, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 


Mary Wordsworth to Lady Beaumont 

[February 5th, 1823. 
My dear Lady Beaumont, 

I have delayed sending you the poem,^ and also to 
reply to your last kind letter, in the hope of being able to 
speak decisively about the intended visit to Coleorton. . . . 

Mrs. Coleridge and Sara have been some time at High- 
gate. She wrote soon after their arrival there, and gave 
a cheerful account of Coleridge. She spoke of going into 
Devonshire about the middle of March. We seldom see 
Harljey, but as we hear little of him, and that little in his 
favour, we hope he is spending his time to some good 
purpose ; but as to the discipline of Mr. Dawes' school, 
that cannot much restrain him, as I believe there are not 
more than four boys. . . . 

I hope the verses will afford you pleasure. Her lady- 
ship wrote a very proper reply when they were sent to 
her ; but how far they may have power to act as a " peace- 
offering" we much doubt, but heartily wish they may.* 

1 To the Lady Flemings January, 1822. — Ed. 
* There was some slight friction between the ladies at Rydal Hall 
and those at the Mount. — £d. 


The severe weather has put a stop to all progress with 
the work. If you or Sir George could send us any hints, 
or sketch for a chapel that would look well in this situa- 
tion, it is possible that we could have it made useful — 
through her ^ agents. We are very anxious that nothing 
should be done to disfigure the village. They ^ might, 
good taste directing them, add much to its beauty. The 
site chosen is the orchard opposite the door leading to 
the lower waterfall, , , . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers 

17th February, 1823. 
My dear Sir, 

I cannot deny myself the pleasure of thanking you for 
your last very kind letter, as Miss Hutchinson is going 
directly to London ; and, through her, you will receive 
this. At present I shall do no more than assure you that 
I am fully sensible of the value of your friendly atten- 
tion to the matter on which I have troubled you. I hope 
that my brother and sister will soon have the pleasure of 
meeting you in London, and he will explain to you all my 
scruples and apprehensions. . . . 

My brother is glad that you came upon the stone to 
the memory of Aloys Reding * in such an interesting way. 
He and Mrs. W., without any previous notice, met with 
it at the moment of sunset, as described at the close of 
those stanzas. I was rambling in another part of the 

1 Lady Le Fleming's. — Ed. 

2 The Le Flemings. — Ed. 

• See Memorials of a Tour on the Continent^ No. xiii. — Ed. 


wood and unluckily missed it. ... I was delighted with 
your and your sister's reception at that pleasant house in 
the vale of Schwytz which I well remember. Mr. Monk- 
house and I, going on foot to Brennen from Schwytz, were 
struck with the appearance of the house, and inquired to 
whom it belonged ; were told, to a family of the name of 
Reding, but could not make out whether it had been the 
residence and birthplace of Aloys Reding or not. I am 
left at home with my niece and her brother William, now 
quite well. . . . Believe me to be, with great respect, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 

Mary Wordsworth to Edward Quillinan 

Trinity Lodge, May 5. 
[Postmark, 1823.] 
My dear Friend, 

Thetiy on Saturday the loth, God willing, we purpose to 
commence an attack upon your hospitality. W. will take 
the first Cambridge coach, and Dora and I shall follow 
with Dr. Wordsworth,^ and hope to reach Bryan ston Street 
in tlie course of the day. Indeed, the Dr. is engaged to 
dine in town. Therefore we shall not be long after W. ; 
but do not disarrange your plans in expectation of us, as 
you know we are no great dintierites^ and would rather 
fall in at your tea hour than at any other. In hope of 
seeing you so soon, and having a host of letters to write, 

1 The Master of Trmity. — Ed. 


I will say no more : only that we trust we are not to be 
disappointed in our expectation of seeing the dear Rotha. 
Love to sweet Mima, and believe me, 

Ever affectionately yours, 

M. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Lee Priory, near Wingham, Kent, 
May 6th, 1823. 
Dear Sir, 

On my return to Gloucester Place I found your oblig- 
ing present of your book, and the medallion of Sir Walter 
Scott, with both of which I was much pleased ; both for 
their several sakes, and as marks of your attention. They 
are forwarded to Westmoreland ; and in a day or two I 
quit this place for a trip, I hope of not more than three 
weeks, chiefly in Holland. If I return through London 
it will not be to stop twenty-four hours there. . . . 

Very faithfully, your obliged servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Lee Priory, May i6th, [1823.] 
My dear Friend, 

Your very welcome letter followed me to this place. 
The account it gave of your happiness and comfort was 
such as we wished to hear. May the- like blessings be 


long, very long, continued to you, changing their char- 
acter only according to the mildest influences of time ! 
You gave me liberty to reply to your letter as might suit 
what you knew of my procrastinating disposition. I 
caught at this; but be assured you would have heard 
from me immediately if I could have held out any hopes, 
either to myself or you, that we should be able to accept 
of your kind invitation to visit you and Mrs. K. (with 
whom we should be most happy to become acquainted) 
at Bath. We came hither five weeks ago, meaning after 
a fortnight's stay to cross the Channel for a little tour in 
Flanders and Holland ; but we had calculated, as the 
saying is, without our host. The spring was tardy and 
froward. When a day or two of fine weather came, they 
were followed by blustering, and even tempestuous, winds. 
These abated, and out came my own vernal enemy, inflam- 
mation in my eyes ; and here I am, still obliged to employ 
Mrs. W. as my amanuensis. 

This day, however, being considerably better, we shall 
go to Dover ; with a view to embark for Ostend to-morrow, 
unless detained by similar obstacles. From Ostend we 
mean to go to Ghent, to Antwerp, Breda, Utrecht, Amster- 
dam, to Rotterdam by Harlem, the Hague and Leyden, 
thence to Antwerp by another route, and perhaps shall 
return by Mechlin, Brussels, Lille and Ypres to Calais, 
or direct to Ostend as we came. We hope to be landed 
in England within a month. We shall hurry through Lon- 
don homewards, where we are naturally anxious already 
to be, having left Rydal Mount so far back as February. 

Now for a word about yourself, my dear friend. You 
had long been followed, somewhat blindly, by our good 
wishes ; we had heard nothing of you, except through 
Mr. Quillinan and from Mr. Monkhouse. If there was 


any fault in your not writing sooner, you made amends 
by entering so kindly into the particulars of what you 
had done and proposed to do ; where you are living, and 
how you were as to estate, body and mind. It is among 
my hopes that, either in Westmoreland or west of Eng- 
land, I may — at no very distant time — be a witness of 
your happiness; and notwithstanding all my faults and 
waywardnesses, have an opportunity of recommending 
myself to the good graces of your helpmate. 

I have time for little more ; as, in an hour and a half, 
we must leave our good friends here, this elegant con- 
ventual mansion (with its pictures and its books), and 
bid farewell to its groves and nightingales, which this 
morning have been singing divinely. By the bye it has 
been so cold that they are silent during the season of 
darkness ! These delights we must surrender, and take 
our way on foot three miles along the pleasant banks of 
Stour, to fall in with the Dover coach. At this moment 
the southwest wind is blustering abominably, whirling the 
leaves and blossoms about in a way that reminds me of 
the tricks it is playing with the surf on the naked coast 
of Ostend ! But courage ! we depart with many good 
wishes, to which yours shall be added, as no act of pre- 
sumption on our part. God bless your sojourns, and grant 
us a happy meeting ; if not in this world, in a better I to 
which my wife says Amen, 

Ever affectionately yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

John is at New College, Oxford. Should you pass 
through enquire after him. He would be overjoyed to 
see you. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Wednesday nth [or 12th] November, [1823.] 

. . . William joined me from the Castle [Lowther], 
where he had been staying, and we proceeded together 
up H awes-water, in a gig lent us by Lord Lonsdale. The 
first time I saw Hawes-water was from your house ; and 
many thoughts did our journey revive of you and yours, 
and the happy day we spent in going to Mardale. We 
took the gig as far as we could, and then proceeded over 
the fell on foot, to the head of Long Sleddale, a very 
interesting valley, crossed at the first houses to Kentmere 
(Bernard Gilpin's^ birthplace), thence over another fell 
to Troutbeck, crossed that vale also, and home by Low- 
wood. I never spent a more rememberable day, seldom 
a pleasanter; though the latter part of our journey was 
performed in the dark ; which, however, was of little con- 
sequence, as it was over familiar ground. It would be a 
charming journey for any one, either on horseback, or on 
foot, on a long summer^s day. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Rydal Mount, November 23d, [1823.] 
My dear Sir, 

On returning from Leicestershire a few days ago, I had 
the pleasure of finding in its destined place the bust of Sir 
Walter Scott. It is, as you say, a very fine one; and I 

1 Bernard Gilpin (151 7-1 583), an eminent Westmoreland divine, 
named " The Apostle of the North."— Ed. 


doubt not you have been equally select in the one which 
you have sent of me to Sir Walter. I will take care 
that my debt to you on this score shall be speedily dis- 
charged. And here I am reminded of an obligation of 
the same kind, which I am afraid has not been met 
as it ought to be. Pray, has Mr. Edward Coleridge paid 
for the cast of my bust which, at his request, was for- 
warded to him at Eton? Bear in mind that I am ulti- 
mately responsible for it. I am already in possession of 
a cast of Mr. Southey, a striking likeness as to feature ; 
but so ill executed, in point of character and expression, 
that I must defer placing a likeness of that honored 
friend in company with this fine one of Sir Walter, till I 
can procure one from the hand of Mr. Chantrey ; who, I 
hope, will one day undertake a work which would redound 
to the credit of both parties. I am not without hope 
also that Mr. Chantrey may be induced to transmit to 
posterity the magnificent forehead of one of the first 
intellects that Great Britain has produced, I mean that 
of Mr. Coleridge, and proud should I be to place this 
triumvirate of my friends in the most distinguished 
station of my little mansion.^ 

Many thanks for .your letter. The interest which your- 
self and family take in my writings, and person, is grate- 
ful to my feelings; testimonies of this kind are among 
the very pleasantest results of a literary life. The ground 
upon which I am disposed to meet your anticipation of 
the spread of my poetry is, that I have endeavoured to 
dwell with truth upon those points of human nature in 
which all men resemble each other, rather than on those 
accidents of manners and character produced by times 

1 Allan Cunningham was clerk of works in the studio of Frauds 
Chantrey from 1814 till 1842. — Ed. 


[ circumstances; which are the favourite seasoning 
d substance too often) of imaginative writings. If, 
refore, I have been successful in the execution of my 
mpt, it seems not improbable that as education is 
mdedy writings that are independent of an over (not 
say vicious) refinement will find a proportionate in- 
ise of readers, provided there be found in them a 
nine inspiration. 

^he selection you again advert to will no doubt be 
cuted at some future time. Something of the kind is 
ady in progress at Paris, in respect to my poems in 
imon with others. The value of such selections will 
•end entirely upon the judgment of the editor. . . . 
anwhile I am going to press (at last) with a re-pub- 
tion of the whole of my poetry,^ including The Excur- 
, which will give me an opportunity of performing my 
mise to you, by sending you the whole, as soon as it 
eady for delivery. 

The collection of songs which you announce ^ I had not 
rd of. Your own poetry shows how fit you are for the 
:e of editing native strains ; and may not one hope 
t the taste of the public in these matters is much 
>roved since the time when Macpherson^s frauds * met 
1 such dangerous success, and Percy's ballads* pro- 
ed those hosts of legendary tales that bear no more 
ambiance to their supposed models than Pope's Homer 
s to the work of the blind bard. Do not say I ought 
lave been a Scotchman. Tear me not from the country 

The edition of 1832.— Ed. 

The Songs of Scotland {1825). — Ed. 

Fragments of Ancient Poetry^ translated from the Gaelic or Erse 

^uage (1760). — Ed. 

The Reliques of Ancient Poetry (1765). — Ed. 



of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton ; yet I own 
that since the days of childhood, when I became familiar 
with the phrase, " They are killing geese in Scotland, 
and sending the feathers to England " (which every one 
had ready when the snow began to fall), and when I used 
to hear, in the time of a high wind, that 

Arthur's bower has broken his band, 
And he comes roaring up the land; 
King o' Scot's wi' a' his power 
Cannot turn Arthur's bower, 

I have been indebted to the North for more than I 
shall ever be able to acknowledge. Thomson,* Mickle,* 
Armstrong,'^ Leyden,* yourself, Irving ^ (a poet in spirit), 
and I may add Sir Walter Scott were all Borderers. If 
they did not drink the water, they breathed at least the 
air of the two countries. The list of English Border 
poets is not so distinguished, but Langham was a na- 
tive of Westmoreland, and Brown the author of the 
Estimate of Manners and Principles, etc., — a poet as his 
letter on the vale of Keswick, with the accompanying 
verses, shows — was bom in Cumberland.® So also was 

1 James Thomson (i 700-1748), bom at Ednam, Roxburghshire, 
author of Tke Castle of Indolence^ etc. — Ed. 

^ William Julius Mickle (i 755-1 788), bom at Langham, translator 
of The Lusicad of Camoens. — Ed. 

8 John Armstrong (1707-1799), bom in Roxburghshire, poet and 
physician, author of The Art of Preserving Health. — Ed. 

*John Leyden (1775-1811), bom at Denholm, Roxburghshire, 
poet, physician, and orientalist. — Ed. 

^ Edward Irving (i 792-1 834), preacher, founder of the "Catholic 
Apostolic Church." — Ed. 

^ John Brown (171 5-1766), a versatile writer, was born in Nop 
thumberland (not Cumberland). He wrote a poem on Honour ^ an 
Essay upon Satire^ a poem on Liberty y but his best known work was 


Skelton,^ a demon in point of genius ; and TickelP in later 
times, whose style is superior in chastity to Pope*s, his 
contemporary. Addison and Hogarth were both within 
a step of Cumberland and Westmoreland, their several 
fathers having been natives of those counties, which are 
still crowded with their names and relatives. It is enough 
for me to be ranked in this catalogue, and to know that I 
have touched the hearts of many by subjects suggested 
to me on Scottish ground; these pieces you will find 
classed together in the new edition. Present my thanks 
to Mrs. C. for her kind invitation. I need not add that if 
you, or any of yours, come this way we shall be most 
happy to see you. 

Pray give my congratulations to Mr. Chantrey on the 
improvement in Mrs. C.'s health; they have both our 
best wishes ; and believe me, my dear sir. 

Very faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Taylor 

Rydal Mount, December 26th, [1823.] 
Dear Sir, 

... I have not, nor ever had, a single poem of Lord 
Byron's by me, except the Lara^ given me by Mr. Rogers ; 
and therefore could not quote anything illustrative of his 

his Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times, He helped 
Charles Avison in his Essay on Musical Expression (i7S3)« — Ed. 

* John Skelton (1460?-! 529), poet, clergyman, satirist. — Ed. 

^ Thomas Tickell (1686-1740), poet, etc., bom at Bridekirk, Cum- 
berland. — Ed. 


poetical obligations.^ So far as I am acquainte< 
his works, they are most apparent in the third ca 
Childe Harold; not so much in particular expre; 
though there is no want of these, as in the tone (as 
rather than natural) of enthusiastic admiration of ^ 
and a sensibility to her influences. Of my writinj 
need not read more than the blank verse poem < 
river Wye to be convinced of this. Mrs. W. tells n 
in reading one of Lord B.'s poems, of which the 
was offensive, she was much disgusted with the ] 
risms from Mr. Coleridge — at least she thinks it 
that poem — but as she read the Siege of Corinth 
same volume, it might possibly be in that. If 
not mistaken there was some acknowledgment to 
which takes very much from the reprehensiveness o 
ary trespasses of this kind. Nothing lowered my o 
of Byron's poetical integrity so much as to see "pi 
place" carefully noted as a quotation from Macbt 
a work where contemporaries — from whom he had 
wholesale — were not adverted to. It is mainly c 
account that he deserves the severe chastisement 
you, or some one else, will undoubtedly one day giv 
and may have done already, as I see by advertis 
the subject has been treated in the London Magazi 
I remember one impudent instance of his theft 
Raymond's translation of Coxe's Travels in Switze, 
with Notes by the Translator^ is a note with these 
(speaking of the fall of Schaffhausen) : " Lewy (si( 
cendant avec moi sur cet dchafaud, tomba \ gen( 
criant: voila un enfer d^eau!** This expression is 

1 Indebtedness to others. — Ed. 

2 William Coxe (17 1828) published Travels in Switi 

three volumes, in 1789. — Ed. 


by Byron and beaten out unmercifully into two stanzas, 
which a critic in the University Review is foolish enough 
to praise. They are found in the fourth canto of Childe 
Harold} Whether the obligation is acknowledged or not 
I do not know, having seen nothing of it but in quotation. 
Thank you for your parallels. I wished for them on 
Mr. Rogers' account, who is making a collection of similar 
things relating to Gray. There are few of yours I think 
which one could swear to as conscious obligations. The 
subject has three branches — accidental coincidences 
without any communication of the subsequent author, 
unconscious imitations ; and deliberate conscious obliga- 
tions. The cases are numerous in which it is impossible 
to distinguish these by anything inherent in the resem- 
bling passage ; but external aid may be called in with 
advantage where we happen to know the circumstances 
of an author's life and the direction of his studies. Do 
not suflEer my present remissness to prevent you favour- 
ing me with a letter if there is the least chance of my 
being of service to you. I shall reply immediately if I 
have anything to say worthy your attention. With best 
wishes from myself and family, I remain, dear sir. 

Very sincerely yours, 

^ -' Wm. Wordsworth. 

P.S. — When you write to your father, be so good as to 
make my respectful remembrances to him. 

1 A mistake is here made, either by Raymond, or Coxe, or Words- 
worth. In Childe Harold* s Pilgrimage^ Canto IV, stanzas 68-72, 
Byron is describing not the falls of Schaffhausen in Switzerland, 
but those of Terni in Italy; the river Velino, on which the latter 
occur, being expressly mentioned in stanza 69. In a note to stanza 
71, praising the "cascata del marmore** of Terni, Byron says he 
"had not yet seen " Schaffhausen. — £d. 




William Wordsworth to Walter Savage Lander 

Rydal Mount, January 21, 1824. 
My dear Sir, 

. . . You promise me a beautiful copy of Dante, but I 
ought to mention that I possess the Parma folio of 1795, 
— much the grandest book on my shelves, — presented to 
me by our common friend, Mr. Kenyon. 

. . . You have given me minute criticism of Laodamia, 
I concur with you in what you say of the first stanza, and 
had several times attempted to alter it upon your grounds. 
I cannot, however, accede to your objection to the 
" second birth," merely because the expression has been 
degraded by conventiclers. I certainly meant nothing 
more by it than the eadem cura^ and the largior cether, 
etc., of Virgil's sixth ^neid. All religions owe their ori- 
gin, or acceptation, to the wish of the human heart to 
supply in another state of existence the deficiencies of 
this, and to carry still nearer to perfection whatever we 
admire in our present condition; so that there must be 
many modes of expression, arising out of this coinci- 
dence, or rather identity of feeling, common to all m)rth- 
ologies ; and under this observation I should shelter 
the phrase from your censure ; but I may be wrong in 
the particular case, though certainly not in the general 


principle. This leads to a remark in your last, " that 
you are disgusted with all books that treat of religion." 
I am afraid it is a bad sign in me that I have little relish 
for any other. Even in poetry it is the imaginative only, 
viz., that which is conversant with, or turns upon infinity, 
that powerfully affects me. Perhaps I ought to explain : 
I mean to say that, unless in those passages where things 
are lost in each other, and limits vanish, and aspirations 
are raised, I read with something too much like indiffer- 
ence. But all great poets are in this view powerful reli- 
^onists, and therefore among many literary pleasures lost, 
I have not yet to lament over that of verse as departed. 
As to politics, what do you say to Buonaparte on the one 
side, and the Holy Alliance on the other, to the prostrate 
Tories, and to the contumelious and vacillating Whigs, 
who dislike or despise the Church, and seem to care for 
the State only so far as they are striving — without hope, 
I honestly believe — to get the management of it? As 
to the low-bred and headstrong Radicals, they are not 
worth a thought. Now my politics used always to impel 
me more or less to look out for co-operation, with a view 
to embody them in action. Of this interest I feel myself 
utterly deprived, and the subject, as matter of reflec- 
tion, languishes accordingly. Cool heads, no doubt, 
there are, in the country, but moderation naturally keeps 
out of sight; and, wanting associates, I am less of an 
Englishman than I once was, or could wish to be. Show 
me that you excuse this egotism, if you can excuse it, by 
turning into the same path, when I have the pleasure 
again to hear from you. 

It would probably be wasting paper to mention Southey, 
as no doubt you hear from him. I saw Mrs. S. and 
four of his children the other day ; two of the girls most 


beautiful creatures. The eldest daughter is with her father 
in town. S. preserves excellent health, and, except that 
his hair is grizzled, a juvenile appearance, with more of 
youthful spirits than most men. He appears to be accu- 
mulating books in a way that, with my weak eyes, appalls 
me. A large box of them has just strayed into my house 
through a blunder in the conveyance. 

. Pray be so good as to let me know what you think of 
Dante. It has become lately — owing a good deal, I 
believe, to the example of Schlegel ^ — the fashion to extol 
him above measure. I have not read him for many years; 
his style I used to think admirable for conciseness and 
vigour, without abruptness ; but I own that his fictions 
often struck me as offensively grotesque and fantastic, 
and I felt the poem tedious from various causes. 

I have a strong desire to become acquainted with the 
Mr. Hare * whom you mention. To the honour of Cam- 
bridge, he is in the highest repute there, for his sound 
and extensive learning. I am happy to say that the 
Master of Trinity College, my brother, was the occasion 
of his being restored to the Muses from the Temple. To 
Mr. Hare's brother, Augustus,* I am under great obliga- 
tion for having volunteered the tuition of my elder son, 
who is at New College, Oxford, and who, though he is 
not a youth of quick parts, promises, from his assiduity 
and passionate love of classical literature, to become an 
excellent scholar. . . . 

Believe me, ever sincerely and affectionately yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

1 See his GeschichU der alien und neuen Literatur, — Ed. 

2 Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855), author of Guesses tit Truths 
etc. — Ed, * 1 792-1834. — Ed. 


William Wordsworth to James Montgomery^ 

Rydal Mount, Jan. 24, 1824. 

... I feel much for their [the climbing boys'] unhappy 
situation, and should be glad to see the custom of em- 
ploying such helpless creatures in this way abolished. 
But at no period of my life have I been able to write 
verses that do not spring up from an inward impulse of 
some sort or other ; so that they neither seem proposed 
nor imposed. ... I should have written sooner, but it 
was possible that I might have fallen into a track that 
would have led to something. . . . 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Playford Hall, near Ipswich, 

Tuesday Morning, 23d May, 1824. 
My dear Friend, 

On my way from Cambridge last Friday, as soon as 
I had secured my luggage, etc., I set off towards your 
brother's house, stopped at Mrs. Kitchener's to enquire 
after her, and just as I was setting out again your brother 
and sister were coming up the Square. Instead of pro- 
ceedings to Southgate I turned in again with them, and 
Mrs. R. stayed till the coach took me up. 

I was much pleased to see a chearful countenance when 
she met me, and though I marked the traces of age coming 
on, and of past suffering, on the whole she looked much 

1 A Scottish poet (i 776-1854), author of The Wanderer in Swit- 
terland, Greenland, Pelican Island^ etc. — Ed. 


better than I had expected. In fact, she told me she had 
rallied wonderfully since her late distress .... I shall 
stop in Southgate on my return; Mrs. Luff, who will 
be my companion to Rydal, going forward to the inn, 
where she will take care of luggage, etc. My time will 
be very short, as the coach only remains half an hour at 
Bury. We shall travel with our family cares — the whole 
of Mrs. Luff's living stock, three singing birds of gay 
plumage brought from the Mauritius. 

Thank you for your letter, which I received at Cam- 
bridge, with the parcel and two books for my brother's 

Yours affectionately, 

D. Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Lady Beaumont 

Rydal Mount, i8th Sept., Saturday, [1824.] 

My dear Lady Beaumont, 

. . . Now for our own travellers. They have thridded 
North Wales, and hardly left a celebrated spot unseen. 
Mr. Jones, my brother's first pedestrian companion on his 
tour in Switzerland, joined them with his car and servant, 
and travelled with them everywhere. Th^y were to part at 
the Devil's Bridge last Tuesday, and on Wednesday ex- 
pected to reach Mr. Hutchinson's house at Hindwell. . . • 

My letters have been from Dora, who gives a most lively 
account of what she has seen, especially of the ladies at 
Llangollen (I cannot spell these Welsh names), with whom 
they spent an evening ; and were well pleased with thm 
and their entertainment. Dora says of Conway Castle, 
" Having left the vale of Clwydd, we soon came in sight 


of Conway, which I think the king of castles. Nothing 
that I have heard of it, nothing that I have seen — not even 
Sir George's picture — gives one a sufficient idea of its gran- 
deur. Here we spent more than three hours, but it would 
take more than three days to become acquainted with it. 
The longer I stayed the longer I wished to stay. They are 
erecting a bridge across the river, on the same plan as at 
Bangor Ferry, which I think will be an improvement to the 
appearance of the castle when the newness is worn off." 

So much for the distant travellers ; but we, at home, 
have had our travels. Mrs. Luif, William, and I spent 
three days in Borrowdale very agreeably; not wholly in 
Borrowdale, for William and I went over the Sty to Was- 
dale, with a party of our friends. Bright sunshine after 
torrents of rain set ofiF the charms of Borrowdale and the 
sublimities of Scawfell to the best advantage, and all 
were delighted. . . . Sara Coleridge rode over to us in 
Borrowdale. She is extremely thin ; I could not but 
think of a lily flower to be snapped by the first blast, 
when I looked at her delicate form, her fair and pallid 
cheeks. She is busy with proof-sheets, — a labour that 
she likes, — yet I should be glad if it were over, and she 
could be employed and amused at the same time without 
exercising her mind by thought and study. Southey is 
much better, and I think he looks pretty well. He had 
been on Helvellyn the week before last, a proof of re- 
covered strength ! Mrs. Coleridge, and the rest of the 
family, well ; except Mrs. Lovel. Southey seemed to be 
very sorry to give up the expectation of seeing Sir George 
in the North. I told him, however, that there was perhaps 
a little chance of his coming, recollecting your message to 
Lord Lonsdale. Believe me, dear Lady Beaumont, your 
faithful and affectionate friend, ^^ Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Sir George Beaumont 

HiNDWELL, Radnor, Sept. 20, 1824. 

My dear Sir George, 

After a three weeks' ramble in North Wales, Mrs. 
Wordsworth, Dora, and myself are set down quietly here 
for three weeks more. The weather has been delightful, 
and everything to our wishes. On a beautiful day we 
took the steam-packet at Liverpool, passed the mouth of 
the Dee, coasted the extremity of the vale of Clwyd, sailed 
close under Great Orme's Head, had a noble prospect of 
Penmaenmawr, and having almost touched upon Puffin's 
Island, we reached Bangor Ferry a little after six in the 
afternoon. We admired the stupendous preparations for 
the bridge over the Menai, and breakfasted next morning 
at Carnarvon. We employed several hours in exploring 
the interior of the noble castle, and looking at it from 
different points of view in the neighbourhood. 

At half-past four we departed for Llanberris, having 
fine views, as we looked back, of Carnarvon Castle, the 
sea, and Anglesey. A little before sunset we came in 
sight of Llanberris Lake, Snowdon, and all the craggy 
hills and mountains surrounding it ; the foreground a 
beautiful contrast to this grandeur and desolation. A 
green sloping hollow furnished a shelter for one of the 
most beautiful collections of lowly Welsh cottages, with 
thatched roofs overgrown with plants, anywhere to be 
met with. The hamlet is called Cwm-y-Glo. And here 
we took boat, while the solemn lights of evening were 
receding towards the tops of the mountains. As we 


advanced, Dolbadam Castle came in view, and Snowdon 
opened up to our admiration. It was almost dark when we 
reached the quiet and comfortable inn at Llanberris. . . . 

There being no carriage-road, we undertook to walk by 
the Pass of Llanberris, eight miles, to Capel Curig; this 
proved fatiguing, but it was the only oppressive exertion 
we made during the course of our tour. We arrived at 
Capel Curig in time for a glance at the Snowdonian range, 
from the garden of the inn in connection with the lake 
(or rather pool), reflecting the crimson clouds of evening. 
The outline of Snowdon is perhaps seen nowhere to more 
advantage than from this place. Next morning, five miles 
down a beautiful valley to the banks of the Conway, which 
stream we followed to Llanrwst ; but the day was so hot 
that we could only make use of the morning and evening. 

Here we were joined, according to previous arrange- 
ment, by Bishop Hobart, of New York, who remained 
with us till two o'clock next day, and left us to complete 
his hasty tour through North and South Wales. In the 
afternoon arrived my old college friend and youthful com- 
panion among the Alps, the Rev. R. Jones, and in his car 
we all proceeded to the Falls of the Conway, thence up 
that river to a newly-erected inn on the Irish road, where 
we lodged, having passed through bold and rocky scenery 
along the banks of a stream which is a feeder of the Dee. 
Next morning we turned from the Irish road three or four 
miles to visit the " Valley of Meditation " (Glyn Mjrvyr), 
where Mr. Jones has, at present, a curacy, with a com- 
fortable parsonage. We slept at Corwen, and went down 
the Dee to Llangollen, which you and dear Lady B.* know 
well. Called upon the celebrated recluses,^ who hoped 

1 Beaumont. — Ed. 

* The Lady E. Butler and the Hon. Miss Ponsonby. — Ed. 


that you and Lady B. had not forgotten them ; they cer- 
tainly had not forgotten you, and they begged us to say 
that they retained a lively remembrance of you both. We 
drank tea and passed a couple of hours with them in the 
evening, having visited the aqueduct over the Dee and 
Chirk Castle in the afternoon. Lady £.^ has not been 
well, and has suffered much in her eyes, but she is sur- 
prisingly lively for her years. Miss P.^ is apparently in 
unimpaired health. Next day I sent them the following 
sonnet from Ruthin, which was conceived, and in a great 
measure composed, in their grounds — 

A stream, to mingle with your favourite Dee, 
Along the Vale of Meditation flows ; 
So named by those fierce Britons, pleased to see 
In Nature's face the expression of repose, etc. 

... We passed three days with Mr. Jones's friends in 
the vale of Clwyd, looking about us, and on the Tuesday 
set off again, accompanied by our friend, to complete our 
tour. We dined at Conway, walked to Benarth, the view 
from which is a good deal choked up with wood. A small 
part of the castle has been demolished, for the sake of 
the new road to communicate with the suspension bridge, 
which they are about to make to the small island opposite 
the castle, to be connected by a long embankment with 
the opposite shore. The bridge will, I think, prove rather 
ornamental when time has taken off the newness of its 
supporting masonry; but the mound deplorably impaurs 
the majesty of the water at high-tide; in fact it destroys 
its lakelike appearance. 

Our drive to Aber in the evening was charming, the 
sun setting in glory. We had also a delightful walk next 

1 Eleanor Butler. — Ed. 2 Ponsonby. — Ed. 


morning up the vale of Aber, terminated by a lofty water- 
fall ; not much in itself, but most striking as a closing 
accompaniment to the secluded valley. Here, in the early 
morning, I saw an odd sight — fifteen milkmaids together, 
laden with their brimming pails. How chearf ul and happy 
they appeared ! and not a little inclined to joke after the 
manner of the pastoral persons in Theocritus. That day 
brought us to Capel Curig again, after a charming drive 
up the banks of the Ogwen, having previously had beauti- 
ful views of Bangor, the sea, and its shipping. From Capel 
Curig down the justly celebrated vale of Nant Gwynant to 
Beddgelert. In this vale are two small lakes, the higher of 
which is the only Welsh lake which has any pretensions to 
compare with our own ; and it has one great advantage over 
them, that it remains wholly free from intrusive objects. 
We saw it early in the morning; and with the greenness 
of the meadows at its head, the steep rocks on one of its 
shores, and the bold mountains at both extremities, a feature 
almost peculiar to itself, it appeared to us truly enchanting. 
The village of Beddgelert is much altered ; for the 
houses have, in a great measure, supplanted the old 
rugged and tufted cottages ; and a smart hotel has taken 
the place of the lowly public-house in which I took 
refreshment almost thirty years ago, previous to a mid- 
night ascent to the summit of Snowdon. At B. we were 
agreeably surprised by the appearance of Mr. Hare, of 
New College, Oxford. We slept at Tan-y-bwlch, having 
employed the afternoon in exploring the beauties of the vale 
of Festiniog. Next day to Barmouth, whence, the follow- 
ing morning, we took boat and rowed up its sublime estuary, 
which may compare with the finest of Scotland, having the 
advantage of a superior climate. From Dolgelly we went 
to Tal-y-Llyn, a solitary and very interesting lake under 


Cader Idris. Next day, being Sunday, we heard service 
performed in Welsh, and in the afternoon went part of the 
way down a beautiful valley to Machynlleth, next morning 
to Aberystwith, and up the Rheidol to the DeviPs Bridge, 
where we passed the following day in exploring those two 
rivers, and Hafod in the neighbourhood. 

I had seen these things long ago, but either my memory 
or my powers of observation had not done them justice. 
It rained heavily in the night, and we saw the waterfalls 
in perfection. While Dora was attempting to make a 
sketch from the chasm in the rain, I composed by her 
side the following address to the torrent: 

How art thou named ? In search of what strange land, 
From what huge height descending ? Can such force 
Of water issue from a British source ? ^ 

Next day, viz., last Wednesday, we reached this place, 
and found all our friends well, except our good and valu- 
able friend, Mr. Monkhouse, who is here, and in a very 
alarming state of health. . . . He is a near relation of 
Mrs. Wordsworth, and one, as you know, of my best 
friends. I hope to see Mr. Price, at Foxley, in a few 
days. Mrs. Wordsworth's brother is about to change his 
present residence for a farm close by Foxley. 

Now, my dear Sir George, what chance is there of your 
being in Wales during any part of the autumn ? I would 
strain a point to meet you anywhere, were it only for a 
couple of days. Write immediately, or should you be 
absent without Lady Beaumont, she will have the good- 
ness to tell me of your movements. I saw the Lowthers 
just before I set o& ; all well. You probably have heard 

^ See Vol. VII, pp. 129-130, of the Poetical Works^ published by 
Messrs. Macmillan in their Eversley edition. 


from my sister. It is time to make an end of this long 
letter, which might have been somewhat less dry if I had 
not wished to make you master of our whole route. 
Except ascending one of the high mountains — Snowdon 
or Cader Idris — we omitted nothing, and saw as much 
as the shortened days would allow. With love to Lady 
Beaumont and yourself, dear Sir George, from us all, 
I remain, ever most faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Rydal Mount, October 4th, [1824.] 
My dear Sir, 

About three weeks ago, on returning from a walk, a 
letter, in which I instantly recognised your handwriting, 
Was given to me. ... I was reconciled to your having 
been compelled to visit the sea and the grey-green fields 
of Bognor, instead of our brighter valleys, as you would 
have found neither my brother, nor sister, nor niece at 
borne ; and I hope that you will have free choice next 
iummer, and that choice will lead you hither. . . . 

I need not say how glad we should have been to accept 
^our friendly invitation, had it been in our power to visit 
^ou at Bath, and to take a ramble on the Quantock 
Fiills, on which, through God's mercy, we can yet walk 
J»ith as light a foot as in the days of our youth. But it is 
ime to begin with what has been done. My brother and 
Dora left me at Cambridge in May ; they returned directly 
to Rydal Mount, and I followed them in June, after pay- 
ing a short visit to Mrs. Clarkson near Ipswich. Since 
that time we have had scarcely anything but fine summer 


weather, such as you ought to have when you first intro- 
duce Mrs. Kenyon to these lakes and mountains; and 
though, as I say, I am not sorry that you did not come in 
the autumn months I wish you could have been here in 
the summer. It will be six weeks to-morrow since Mrs. 
Wordsworth and my brother left us. Three of those 
weeks they spent in North Wales, thridding that romantic 
country through every quarter. My brother — to whom 
it was familiar ground when a very young man — has 
been pleased beyond expectation and remembrance, and 
his wife and daughter (to them all was new) have been 
delighted. They have, however, had a sad draw-back 
from the agreeable thoughts and feelings which they 
carried along with them to South Wales. There*, on the 
banks of the Wye, they met our friend, Mr. Thomas 
Monkhouse, who by the advice of physicians had come 
thither, to his brother, for the sake of quiet, dry and pure 
air, and chearful society. . . . My brother and sister 
were heart struck at the first sight of him. He looks 
like a person far gone in consumption. 

You will be glad to hear that my nephew William is, 
though not a thriving plant, what — but for his looks — we 
should call healthy at present. He is not fit for a public 
school. Therefore he attends Hartley Coleridge, who 
has now fourteen scholars — a flourishing concern for an 
Ambleside schoolmaster 1 — and he is steady and regular. 

I have just had a letter from Mrs. Coleridge, by which I 
learn that your friends, Mr. and Mrs. Guillemard, are at 
Keswick. I shall desire her to say to them that I hope, 
if they return by this road, they will turn aside to look at 
Rydal Mount, though there is no chance of their finding 
my brother and sister at home. I think we shall hardly 
see them before the middle of November, as they think 


of pa3ring a short visit to Sir George and Lady Beaumont 
at Coleorton, on leaving Wales, and most likely it will be 
the third week of this month before they leave Wales. . . . 

Yours truly, 

D. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Alatic Watts^ 

Rydal Mount, Ambleside, 
November 16, 1824. 
Dear Sir, 

On my return home, after a prolonged absence, I found 
upon my table your little volume and accompanying letter, 
for both of which I return you sincere thanks. The letter 
written by my sister upon their arrival does not leave it 
less incumbent on me to notice these marks of your atten- 
tion. Of the poems I had accidentally a hasty glance 
before ; I have now perused them at leisure, and notwith- 
standing the modest manner in which you speak of their 
merits, I must be allowed to say that I think the volume 
one of no common promise, and that some of the pieces 
are valuable, independent of such consideration. My 
sister tells me she named the Ten Years Ago, It is 
one of this kind ; and I agree with her in rating it more 
highly than any other of the collection. Let me point 
out the thirteenth stanza of the first poem as — with the 
exception of the last line but one — exactly to my taste, 
both in sentiment and language. Should I name other 
poems that particularly pleased me, I might select the 

1 Editor of the Leeds Intelligencer^ the Standard^ and author of 
Poetical Sketches^ etc. — Ed. 


Sketch from Real Life^ and the l3n*ical pieces, the Serenade 
and Dost thou love the Lyre f The fifth stanza of the latter 
would be better omitted, slightly altering the commence- 
ment of the preceding one. In lyric poetry the subject and 
simile should be as much as possible lost in each other. 

It cannot but be gratifying to me to learn from your 
letter that my productions have proved so interesting; 
and, as you are induced to say, beneficial, to a writer whose 
pieces bear such undeniable marks of sensibility as appear 
in yours. I hope there may not be so much in my writings 
to mislead a young poet as is by many roundly asserted. 

"... I am disposed strenuously to recommend to 
your habitual perusal the great poets of our own country, 
who have stood the test of ages. Shakespeare I need 
not name, nor Milton, but Chaucer and Spenser are apt 
to be overlooked. It is almost painful to think how far 
these surpass all others. . . ." 

I have to thank you, I presume, for a Leeds Intelligencer^ 
containing a critique on my poetical character, which, 
but for your attention, I probably should not have seen. 
Some will say, "Did you ever know a poet who would 
agree with his critic when he was finding fault, especially 
if on the whole he was inclined to praise ? " I will asWJ 
" Did you ever know a critic who suspected it to be possible 
that he himself might be in the wrong ? " in other words, 
who did not regard his own impressions as the test 
of excellence ? The author of these candid strictures 
accounts with some pains for the disgust or indifference 
with which the world received a large portion of my 
verse, yet without thinking the worse of this portion him- 
self ; but wherever the string of his own sympathies is 
not touched the blame is mine. Goody Blake and Harry 
Gill is apparently no favourite with the person who has 


transferred the article into the Leeds paper; yet Mr. 
Crabbe in my hearing said that " everybody must be 
delighted with that poem." The Idiot Boy was a special 
favourite with the late Mr. Fox and with the present 
Mr. Canning. The South American critic quarrels with 
the Celandine^ and no doubt would with the Daffodils^ etc. ; 
yet on this last the other day I heard of a most ardent 
panegyric from a high authority. But these matters are 
to be decided by principles ; and I only mention the 
above facts to show that there are reasons upon the sur- 
face of things for a critic to suspect his own judgment. 

You will excuse the length of this letter, and the more 
readily if you attribute it to the respect I entertain for 
your sensibility and genius. 

Believe me, very truly, 

Your obedient servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Rydal Mount, 23rd Nov., 1824. 

... I am ashamed of being so long in fulfilling my 
engagement. But the promises of poets are like the per- 
juries of lovers, things at which Jove laughs ! At last, 
however, I have sent off the two first books of my trans- 
lation ^ to be forwarded by Mr. Beckett. I hope they will 
be read with some pleasure, as they have cost me a good 
deal of pains. Translation is just as to labour what the 

1 Translation of the ^neid. Wordsworth contributed three books 
of his translation to the Philological Museum^ printed at Cambridge 
in 1882 (see VoL I, p. 382). — Ed. 



person who makes the attempt is inclined to. If he 
wishes to preserve as much of the original as possible, 
and that with as little addition of his own as may be, 
there is no species of composition which costs more pains. 
A literal translation of an ancient poet in verse, and par- 
ticularly in rhyme, is impossible. Something must be left 
out, and something added. I have done my best to avoid 
the one and the other fault. I ought to say a prefatory 
word about the versification, which will not be found much 
to the taste of those whose ear is exclusively accommodated 
to the regularity of Pope's Homer. I have run the coup- 
lets freely into each other, much more even than Dryden 
has done. This variety seems, to me, to be called for, if 
anything of the movement of the Virgilian versification be j 
transferable to our poetry ; and, independent of this con- ; 
sideration, long narratives in couplets with the sense closed \ 
at the end of each are to me very wearisome. . . . 


Dorothy Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

[Nov. 28, 1824.] 
My dear Sir, 

. . . The travellers returned delighted with North 
Wales, all in good health and with improved looks. My 
brother's eyes have during the summer been mosdy in 
their better way, and are still so — very usable for a short 
while at a time by daylight ; but hardly at all by candle- 
light ; and this, I fear, is the best that we may be allowed { 
ever to expect from them. ... 

Our friends at Keswick are pretty well. Southey has 
got rid of his summer cold. Sara Coleridge's eyes are 




no worse. . . . Derwent keeps his situation as third mas- 
ter of Plymouth school, and we (hearing nothing amiss) 
conclude he is going on well. As to poor Hartley, he 
sticks to his school-hours, is liked by his scholars, and is 
still " Hartley " among them ; even (out of school) the 
bigger ones address him " Hartley I " This will give you 
a notion of the nature of the discipline exercised by 

him. ... — .. , 

Believe me, dear sir, 

Yours faithfully, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 

Rydal Mount, 28th Nov. 

Do you hear frequently of or from Mr. Poole ? and how 
is he ? Do you know whether Coleridge has lately been 
at Harrowgate or not? A rumour of his having been 
there has reached these parts, but we think there must be 
a mistake in the name, and that it has been some watering- 
place in the South. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Dec. I, 1824. 

[She quotes the two sonnets by her brother To Mary 
Monkhouse and To Rotha Quillinan, and adds] My brother 
desires me to beg you (this I know is unnecessary) not to 
give copies of these sonnets to any one ; but they having 
been composed only for the love of private friends, and 
for the sake of expressing his own peculiar feelings with 
regard to the two infants, he is particularly desirous that 
they should not be spread abroad, either by copies or by 
being read to any persons but such as may have an interest 


in the parents or children. . . . You have heard of the 
melancholy fate of Mrs. Quillinan, Rotha's mother. She 
died at the age of 28 — at Ivy Cottage. 

Pray give our united love and best wishes to Charles 
Lamb' and his sister. ... Be so good as to ask Charles 
if my brother's translation of Virgil is in his possession. 
Tell him, too, that if he would send us a letter either 
from his India House desk or from Colebrook cottage, 
we should all be well pleased ; and, if addressed to my 
brother, I can insure him an answer from himself. 

Postscript after postscript ! Did you ever read the 
letter of orders for a Scarlet Cardinal ? If you did, I am 
sure this will remind you of it. First a morning paper is 
desired (to be forwarded the same evening). If that 
cannot be, an evening paper next day — if not, a morn- 
ing paper sent next day — and last of all, if none of the 
above can be had, an evening three-days-a-week paper. 

I fear you will not succeed, knowing that there is great 
difficulty in obtaining second-hand newspapers. 


Mary Wordsworth to Lady Beaumont 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 9th, [1824.] 

My dear Lady Beaumont, 

I lose not a moment to tell you that William has made 
up his mind to avail himself of your proposal that the 
carriage shall be turned over to you, on the ground that 
the money which was to pay for it (viz., part of the prod- 
uce of the new edition) is gone in another direction — 
the purchase of the field.^ We all earnestly hope with 

1 Dora's field, below Rydal Mount. — Ed. 


you that the time for building will never arrive, but it is 
an amusement to talk of, and when spring comes the 
employment of planting upon his own land (though under 
such a tenure it can scarcely be called so) will be a great 
amusement to William, and stand him in the stead of 
driving one or two of us in the carriage, which I am sure, 
under existing circumstances, it is prudent to give up, as 
your kindness allows us to do so. 

The field was an extravagant price, but, lying where it 
does, it cannot be a loss in the end. And we did hope 
that the possession of it might be the means of our being 
permitted to remain at Rydal Mount. I fear we herein 
have judged wrong. 

You take the right view of making the best of our dis- 
appointment (if aught so uncertain can be called one) in 
regard to Merton. Yet from the Bishop of London's 
opinion we have gathered hope that the thing is not 
impossible. He says, " I can hardly conceive that there 
can be any direct exclusion of the diocese of Chester in 
the Book of Merton. If there be, it must be of recent 
enactment, that diocese having been formed out of parcels 
of York and Lichfield, which one would think would have 
continued to enjoy their ancient privileges notwithstand- 
ing the change of jurisdiction." We have, therefore, in 
conformity to the good bishop's suggestion, made appli- 
cation at Oxford, and the result will settle the point. If, 
unexpectedly, it prove favourable, William is determined 
that the apparent difficulty of the pursuit shall not discour- 
age his efforts ; and, indeed, from every letter we have 
received we have good hope of success eventually. Lord 
Lonsdale had procured us the vote of General Capel ; and 
Mr. Canning and many others — whose interest could 
not be questioned — expressed not only willingness, but 



pleasure, at the opportunity given them to hope they might 
be of service to William. This is gratifying, if nothing 
else comes of it ; in which case many considerations are 
at hand to persuade me it is best it should be so. 

Under any consideration it would be most satisfactory 
to us if John's thoughts should rest upon the Church; 
but this is a delicate subject, and unless his own mind 
— in conjunction with our own wishes, which are not 
unknown to him — led him thither, we should think it 
wrong to press him into the sacred profession merely to 
gain a worldly maintenance. The Army is out of the 
question ; he knows that ; and, strong as his bias towards 
the profession seems to be, at his age, and in times of 
peace, he would not give way to it. You are very good 
to be interested, and allow me to write to you, about him. 
This subject leads me to another, which you will not be 
sorry to hear has ended as it has done. 

The Bishop of Chester cannot ordain J. Carter consist- 
ently with the rule he has prescribed to himself, viz., not 
to ordain any who have not been from the first educated 
for the ministry, ue, those who have followed other busi- 
ness, or who have not been at the University or at St. 
Bees. J. C. is too honourable to seek for ordination in 
any other diocese after this declaration, and has given up 
the thought of going into the Church. I should have 
been sorry, did I not believe that some other means of 
advancing himself — more useful to others, as well as 
more profitable to himself — may without difficulty be hit 
upon ; in the meanwhile he is invaluable where he is. 

We have had some few mild days, but the winter has 
set in very fiercely. From Herefordshire we hear won- 
derful reports of the fineness of the season, and good tid- 
ings of Mrs. Hutchinson, which you will be glad to learn. 


I conclude that Lady Susan Percy has left ; Coleorton, as 
you mention, being shut up for the winter. I enjoy, in 
imagination, the quiet of your fireside. I am to send you a 
corrected copy of the 3onnet suggested by you ; therefore, 
dear Lady Beaumont, with best love and respectful remem- 
brances from all. 

Believe me ever to be affectionately yours, 

M. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Walter Savage Landor 

December 11, 1824. 
My dear Sir, 

I have begged this space from S., which I hope you 
will forgive, as I might not otherwise for some time have 
courage to thank you for your admirable Dialogues} 
They reached me last May, at a time when I was able to 
read them, which I did with very great pleasure ; I was 
in London then, and have been a wanderer most of the 
time since. But this did not keep me silent; I was 
deterred by a consciousness that I could not write what 
I wished. I concur with you in so much, and differ with 
you in so much also, that, though I could have easily dis- 
posed, I believe, of my assent, — easily and most pleas- 
antly, — I could not face the task of giving my reasons 
for my dissent. For instance, it would have required 
almost a pamphlet to set forth the grounds upon which 
I disagreed with what you have put into the mouth of 
Franklin on Irish affairs, the object to my mind of con- 
stant anxiety. What would I not give for a few hours' 

^ Landor's Imaginary Conversations was published in 1824. — £d. 


talk with you upon republics, kings, and priests and 
priestcraft ? This last I abhor ; but why spend our time 
declaiming against it ? Better endeavour to improve 
priests, whom one cannot and ought not therefore 
endeavour to do without. We have far more to dread 
from those who would endeavour to expel not only organ- 
ised religion, but all religion, from society, than from 
those who are slavishly disposed to uphold it ; at least I 
cannot help feeling so. Your Dialogues are worthy of 
you, and great acquisitions to literature. The classical 
ones I like best, and most of all that between Sully and 
his brother. That which pleases me the least is the one 
between yourself and the Abbd de Lille. The observa- 
tions are just, I own, but they are fitter for illustrative 
notes than the body of a dialogue, which ought always 
to have some little spice of dramatic effect. I long for 
the third volume. ... I sent a message of thanks through 
Julius Hare, whom I saw at Cambridge in May last. 

Ever affectionately and gratefully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 13, [1824.] 
My dear Friend, 

I should have written to welcome your return to Eng- 
land, having about that time an opportunity of making a 
letter-carrier of one of our visitors to the Lakes, but I 
shrunk from being the first to communicate to you the 
sad tidings of poor Thomas Monkhouse's hopeless state, 
and merely sent a message through Miss Lamb, begging 


for news of you and an account of your continental 
travels. We have heard from Mrs. Clarkson of your being 
well and in good spirits. That is all; not a word of 
where you have been, or what doing. Pray write to us. 
Do not suppose I require a journal ; but spoiled by former 
kindnesses in this way, I really have been disappointed at 
not receiving one before this time ; write, however, and if 
the journal comes hereafter it will be thankfully received. 
My brother and sister, with their daughter, arrived at 
home a month ago, after an absence of eleven and a half 
weeks. Their tour in North Wales was delightful, — 
much surpassing remembrance and expectation ; to my 
brother the ground had been familiar in the days of his 
youth, but all was new to the females. They spent five 
weeks among their friends in Herefordshire and Radnor- 
shire. . . . My brother and Dora were at Keswick for 
four days last week. Southey is in his usual good spirits, 
happy in his various employments. Sara Coleridge is 
busy correcting proofs ; she has translated a book from 
the French, either written by the Chevalier Bayard or by 
some other person, concerning him and his times, I know 
not which. Cuthbert Southey is a clever boy, and I hope 
it will please God to preserve him for the comfort and 
delight of his poor father, whose loss seemed irreparable 
when Herbert (then his only son) died. Mrs. Coleridge, 
Mrs. Southey, and the rest of the family are well. . . . 
My brother has not yet looked at The Recluse; he seems 
to feel the task so weighty that he shrinks from begin- 
ning with it, yet knows that he has now no time to loiter 
if another great work is to be accomplished by him. I 
say another, for I consider The Excursion as one work, 
though. the title-page tells that it is but 2, part of one that 
has another title. He has written some very pretty small 


poems. I will transcribe two of them which have been 
composed by him with true feeling ; and he has great sat- 
isfaction in having done them — especially that on Mary 
Monkhouse, for her dear father's sake, who prizes it much. 
John is just arrived from Oxford, and your old friend 
William is well in health, though not fit to be trusted off 
to school at a distance. ... I hardly think my brother 
will stir away from Rydal next summer; yet he some- 
times hints at going into Ireland, and says when he does 
go he will take me along with him. But we have all been 
such wanderers during the last twelve months, that the 
pleasantest thought at present is that of being gathered 
together at home, and all quietly enjoying ourselves. 
There is no country that suffers so little as this in bad 
weather, none that has so much of beauty (and more 
than beauty) in the winter season ; and at Rydal Mount 
especially we are favoured, having the sun right before 
our windows both at his rising and setting. My brother, 
who is famous for providing opportunities for his friends 
to do him a service, desires me to ask you to be so good 
as to inquire what is the present price of shares in the 
Rock Insurance. He has a little money to dispose of, 
and you know he was fortunate in his purchase from that 
office. Can you recommend any other mode of lapng 
out money ? I am further to ask you if it be possible, 
through your newsman, or through any one whom you 
know of, to have a daily paper sent to my brother the 
day after publication. We have lost our good neighbours 
from the Ivy Cot (Mr. and Mrs. Elliott), and with them 
their newspaper; and now we only see our own provin- 
cial papers, and in these long winter evenings my brother 
feels a want of the little break-in which our friend^' paper 
used to make among us. . . . 


I hope you often see Charles and Mary Lamb, and 
that they are well ; Mrs. Field brought a very good account 
of her. 

What a loss the Lambs, not less than you, must feel 
this winter of the cheerful resting-place and never-failing 
cordial welcome by Thomas Monkhouse's fireside ! . . . 
We all join in kindest remembrances. 

Believe me, ever your faithful and affectionate friend, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry -Crabb Robinson 


. . . My brother was well and in good spirits at Cam- 
bridge, and we all enjoyed our visit there very much. 
The weather was delightful the first week. Then came 
the flood — a new scene for us, and very amusing. On the 
Sunday, when the sun shone out again, the Cam, seen 
from the Castle Hill, resembled one of the lake-like 
reaches of the Rhine. The damage was, I fear, very 
great to the farmers ; but though the University grounds 
were completely overflowed up to Trinity Library, in the 
course of four days most of the damage was repaired. 

I think we shall remain here about a fortnight longer. 
We intend to stay two nights at Cambridge, two in Leices- 
tershire, two in Yorkshire ; and, after that, one day's 
journey, a night spent at Kendal, and a three hours' ride 
before breakfast will take us to Rydal Mount. . . . 

Truly yours, 

D. Wordsworth. 




William Wordsworth to J, Fletcher^ 

Rydal Mount, Jan'ry 17th, 1825. 

... I object to nothing which you say upon the scen- 
ery of N. W.^, considered per se. Your analysis of it is, 
as far as it goes, undeniably just ; but it seems next to 
impossible to discriminate between the claims of two 
countries to admiration with the impartiality of a judge. 
In one's mind one may be just to both, but something of 
the advocate will creep into the language, as an office of 
this kind is generally undertaken with a view to rectify 
some injustice. This was the case with myself, in respect 
to a comparison which I have drawn between our moun- 
tains and the Alps. The general impression is, I am 
afraid, that I give the preference to my native region, 
which was far from the truth; but I wished to show 
advantages which we possessed that were generally 
overlooked, and dwelt upon these, slightly adverting only 
to the points in which the Alps have the superiority. 
The result then is, that / may appear to have dealt 
unfairly with that marvellous portion of the earth that is 
presented to view in the Swiss and Italian valleys. In 

1 Living at AUerton, near Liverpool. — Ed. 

2 North Wales. — Ed. 


like manner you have the appearance of being unjust to 
Scotland. I am indeed not acquainted with any tract in 
Scotland of equal compass so worthy of admiration as 
Snowdon, and its included and circumjacent valleys ; and 
this is the district which has suggested the principal part, 
if not the whole, of your observations. 

But there are tracts in North Wales that are as tame 
and uninteresting, and almost as desolate, as the worst 
in Scotland, though certainly not so extensive. I cannot 
but think that if the landscape interests of the Highlands 
were as condensed as those of North Wales, or of this 
country, they would bear a comparison more favourable 
than you are inclined to allow them. We employed three 
weeks in exploring North Wales, far too short a time. 
A complete circuit ought to be made of Snowdon, and 
the like of Cader Idris ; centres to a pair of magnificent 
circles. We went from Dolgelly to Barmouth by land, 
and returned by water ; but it was with the utmost regret 
that I left the shore, on our right as we returned, wholly 
unexplored. We saw something more of the Tal-y-lyn 
side of the mountain ; but, owing to the state of the 
weather, far less than we wished. I am so much pleased 
with your communication, that I am desirous to know 
what use you mean to make of it. 

If I do not visit Scotland during the ensuing summer, 
I shall in all probability re-examine North Wales, not 
with any view of writing a tour through the country but 
of giving an analysis of Snowdon, Cader-Idris, and their 
several dependencies, with a sketch of the characters of 
the principal rivers. But you appear to be so well quali- 
fied for this, that I should be happy to hear that you 
meant to undertake it ; my wish being to teach the touring 
world (which is become very numerous), to look through 


the clear eye of the understanding, as well as through the 
hazy one of vague sensibility. Pray let me have the con- 
clusion at your earliest convenience, and tell me pre- 
cisely what you mean by objects being picturesque, and 
yet unfit for the pencil. Many objects are fit for the 
pencil, which are not picturesque ; but I have been in the 
habit of applying the word to such objects only as are so. 

I remain, dear sir, your obedient servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers 

Rydal Mount, 21 January, 1825. 

. . . Where were you last summer ? Mrs. Wordsworth, 
my daughter and I, spent three weeks in a delightful ram- 
ble through North Wales, and saw something of South 
Wales, particularly the course of the Wye above Hereford, 
nearly to its source. 

I saw Southey the other day ; he was well, and busy 
as usual, and as his late letter shows, not quite so chari- 
tably disposed to Don Juan deceased as you evidently 
are, if I may judge by a tribute to his memory bearing 
your name, which I accidentally met with in a newspaper; 
but you were the Don's particular friend. An equal indul- 
gence, therefore, could not be expected from the laure 
ate, who, I will not say was his particular enemy, but 
who had certainly no friendship for him. Medwin makes 
a despicable figure as the salesman of so much trash. I 
do not believe there is a man living, from a shoeblack at the 
corner of your street up to the Archbishop of Canterbury 


or the Lord Chancellor, of whose conversation so much 
worthless matter could be reported, with so little deserving 
to be remembered, as the result of an equal number of 
miscellaneous opportunities. Is this the fault of Lord B. 
or his Boswell ? The truth is, I fear, that it may be pretty 
equally divided between them. 

My amanuensis, Mrs. W., says that it is not handsome 
in me to speak thus of your friend. No more it is, if he 
were your friend mortuus, in every sense of the word; 
but his spirit walks abroad, to do some good I hope, but 
a plaguy deal of mischief. . . . 

Most faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers 

Rydal Mount, 19 Feb., [1825.] 
My dear Rogers, 

... It has sometimes struck me that my Miscellane- 
ous Poems might be so arranged, if thought advisable, as 
to be sold in separate volumes. One volume we will say 
of local poetry, to consist of The River Duddon, the 
Scotch Poems with additions, the Continental Pieces, and 
others. A volume of sonnets, perhaps, etc. I throw this 
out merely as a hint, being persuaded that many are 
deterred by the expense of purchasing the whole, who 
would be glad of a part. Yet I am aware there might be 
strong objections to this. . . . 

Ever faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 



William Wordsworth to J, Fletcher 

Rydal Mount, February 25th. 
My dear Sir, 

. . . First let me correct an error respecting my own 
meaning, into which I have led you. When I observed 
that many objects were fitted for the pencil without being 
picturesque, I did not mean to allude, as you infer, to the 
Dutch School, but to the highest order of the Italian 
artists, in whom beauty and grace are predominant ; and 
I was censurably careless in not indicating that my eye 
was directed less upon landscape than upon their mode 
of treating the human figure, in their Madonnas, Holy 
Families, and all their pieces of still life. These mate- 
rials, as treated by them, we feel to be exquisitely fitted 
for the pencil; yet we never think of them as pictur- 
esque, but — shall I say — as something higher, some- 
thing that realizes the idealisms of our nature, and assists 
us in the formation of new ones. Yet I concur with you 
that the Dutch School has made excellent use of objects 
which in life and nature would not by a superficial ob- 
server be deemed picturesque, nor could they with any 
propriety, in popular language, be termed so. This, how- 
ever, I suspect is because our sense of their picturesque 
qualities is overpowered by disgust, which some other 
properties about them create. I allude to their pictures 
of insides of stables, dung-carts, dunghills, and foul and 
loathsome situations, which they not unfrequently are 
pleased to exhibit. But strip objects of these qualities, 
or rather take such as are found without them, and if 
they produce a more agreeable effect upon canvas than 
in reality, then I think it may be safely said that the 


qualities which constitute the picturesque are eminently 
inherent in such objects. 

I will dismiss this (I fear tedious) subject with one 
remark, which will be illustrated at large, if I execute my 
intention, viz., that our business is not so much with 
objects, as with the law under which they are contem- 
plated. The confusion incident to these disquisitions has, 
I think, arisen principally from not attending to this dis- 
tinction. We hear people perpetually disputing whether 
this or that thing be beautiful or not, sublime or otherwise, 
without being aware that the same object may be both 
beautiful and sublime, but it cannot be felt to be such at 
the same moment ; but I must stop. Let me only add, 
that I have no doubt the fault is in myself, and not in 
you, that I have not caught your meaning as clearly as I 
could wish. 

I do not relish the notion of interfering with any use 
you might be disposed to make of your interesting MS. 
My own plan is so uncertain that you ought not to cede 
anything to it. My first view was, as I have said, to 
analyze the regions of Snowdon and Cader Idris, with a 
glance at some more remote river scenery in North Wales. 
I have since taken up another thought, and feel inclined 
to make Snowdon the scene of a dialogue upon nature, 
poetry, and painting to be illustrated by the surrounding 
imagery. . . . 

I wish your tragedies had been more successful, par- 
ticularly if you are likely to be discouraged from a second 
adventure, though I am the last person to press publica- 
tion upon any one, and I think it for the most part very 
prejudicial to young writers. I have not seen your plays, 
from which no inference can be drawn to their prejudice. 
Very few modem publications find their way to me. We 


have no book clubs in this neighbourhood, and when I 
am from home — in spring and summer — my eyps are 
so apt to be inflamed that I am able to profit little by 
anything that falls in my way. 

With many thanks and sincere respect, believe me to he 

Truly yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers 

Rydal Mount, March 23, [1825.] 
My dear Friend, 

... I do not look for much advantage either to Mr. M., 
or to any other bookseller with whom I may treat, and for 
still less to myself, but I assure you that I would a thou- 
sand times rather that not a verse of mine should ever 
enter the press again, than to allow any of them to say 
that I was, to the amount of the strength of a hair, de- 
pendent upon their countenance, consideration, or patron- 
age. . . . You recollect Dr. Johnson's short method of 
settling precedence at Dilley's, " No, sir ; authors above 
booksellers." ... ' 

I have seen Southey lately. He tells me that Murray 
can sell more copies of any book that will sell at all, than 
Longman ; but it does not follow from that, that in the j 
end an author will profit more, because Murray sells books 
considerably lower to the trade, and advertises even more 
expensively than Longman, though that seems scarcely 
possible. Southey's Book of the Church cost £\oo ioT 
advertising the first edition. This is not equal to my 
little tract on the Lakes. The first edition — for which / 
got £g Ss. 2d, — was charged £2'ji 2s,^d. for advertising. 


The second edition is already charged £^0 js, 2d, to me ; 
the immense profits are yet to come. Thus my throat is 
cut ; and if we bargain with M., we must have some pro- 
tection from this deadly weapon. I have little to say, — 
the books are before the public, — only there will be to 
be added to the miscellaneous volumes about sixty pages 
of new matter, and two hundred, viz., the " Memorials " 
and ** Ecclesiastical Sketches " (not yet incorporated with 
them), and 7^ Excursion to be printed uniform with them 
in one volume. I mean to divide the poems into five 
volumes in this way. 

First volume as at present, to consist of " Childhood 
and Early Youth," "Juvenile Pieces," and "Poems of 
the Affections," withdrawing from it The Blind Highland 
Boy (to be added to the " Scotch Poems ") ; Ruth^ Lao- 
damia, Her Eyes are Wild, etc., to be added to the 
"Poems of the Imagination." 

Second volume to consist of poems of " Fancy and 
Imagination," as now; the "Scotch Poems" to be sub- 
ducted, and their place supplied (as above) with the ode 
To Enterprise and others. 

Third volume, "Local Poems" — The River Duddon, 
" Scotch Poems," with some new ones, " The Continental 
Memorials," and " Miscellaneous Poems," selected out of 
the four volumes, with some additions, those "On the 
Naming of Places," and The Wagonner, 

Fourth volume to consist of "Sonnets, Political and 
Ecclesiastical," meaning the " Sketches," and " Miscella- 
neous," with the Thanksgiving Ode, and other political 

Fifth volume. The White Doe of Rylstone, the " Poems 
of Sentiment and Reflection," "Elegies and Epitaphs," 
Final Ode, etc. 


Sixth volume, The Excursion, 

Now these volumes, I conjecture, will run about three 
hundred and forty pages each, and The Excursion to four 
hundred and fifty. Of the "Miscellaneous," two vol- 
umes, — viz., the local poetry, and the sonnets, — might 
perhaps be sold separately to advantage. The others 
cannot be divided without much injury to their efiEect 
upon any reflecting mind. 

As to your considerate proposal of making a selection 
of the most admired or the most popular, even were there 
not insuperable objections to it in my own feelings, I 
should be utterly at a loss how to proceed in that selec- 
tion. Therefore I must abide by the above arrangement, 
and throw the management of the business upon your 
friendship. . . . 

Ever your obliged friend, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to J, Fletcher 

Rydal Mount, April 6th. 
Dear Sir, 

. . . Your tragedies I have read with much pleasure, 
they are in language, versification, and general propriety- 
both as to sentiment, character, and conduct of story — 
very much above mediocrity; so that I think every one 
that reads must approve in no ordinary degree. Never- 
theless I am not surprised at their not having attracted 
so much attention as they deserve. First, because they 
have no false beauties, or spurious interest; and next 
(and for being thus sincere I make no apology), the 


passions, especially in the former, are not wrought upon 
with so daring a hand as is desirable in dramatic compo- 
sition. In the first play, the tragic character of the story 
would lead you to expect that the interest would settle 
upon the father, who, in his joint character of magistrate 
and father, became the judge and executioner of his own 
son; but it does not. The lady attached to Giovanni 
undergoes the most dramatic feelings of any one in the 
piece, — there is a conflict in her mind in more than one 
scene that is sufficiently animated ; but the incident which 
is the hinge of the whole, viz. the death of Giovanni, is 
produced without design, and the play moves throughout 
with too little of a prospective interest, so that you do 
not hang trembling upon the course of events in part 

The second play, though less poetical and elegant, has 
I think much more of dramatic interest. Some of the situ- 
ations are pregnant with anxiety, and strong emotion ; in 
particular the point where the youth arrives, unexpected 
by his mother ; and, he himself being safe, has to blast 
her congratulatory joy by being the bearer of such miser- 
able news as his father's death. This is a fine reverse. 
The foster brother's situation is also well suited to tragedy, 
and indeed the general course of this story involves in 
its nature a plot, — things being done by design, — an 
advantage in which, as I have already observed, I think 
the other deficient. I am well pleased to possess your 
book, and more especially as coming from yourself. 

Now for your MS. I find no fault with your Scotch 
tour, but that you have given us too little of it. I am 
reconciled to your comparative judgment of the two coun- 
tries — now understanding it, which I did not before. I 
have seen much more of Scotland than you notice, and 


particularly regret your silence upon Loch Linne, Glen- 
coe, the Fall of Foyers, and those upon the river Beauly, 
with all of which I was delighted ; but the pleasure given 
by these several scenes depends absolutely upon the 
weather, and upon accidents. When I wished to see the 
sublime mountains of Glencoe a second time, they were 
hidden by vapoury rain ; Loch Linnhe — which looking 
seaward from Portnacroish (excuse bad spelling) had 
presented to my eyes one of the most beautiful visions 
I ever beheld — appeared upon a second visit many years 
after (from a changed state of atmosphere only) with its 
islands and shores, cold, spotty, dreary, and forbidding. 
Waterfalls, and close river scenes, are full as much as 
extensive landscapes, dependent upon accident. You 
may have too much, or too little, water. Those of Foyers 
and Beauly I have only seen once, and in perfection. 

You have been successful in clearing up my doubts as 
to your meaning upon the picturesque. It would occupy 
more paper than I have before me, and require more 
exertion than this languid summer's day in April (for such 
it is, the heat reverberated from our mountains) would 
allow, to establish my position that "the sublime and 
beautiful cannot be felt in the same instant of time"; 
attaching such meaning to the words as I think they 
ought to bear. One is surprised that it should have been 
supposed for a moment, that Longinus writes upon the 
sublime, even in our vague and popular sense of the 
word. What is there in Sappho's ode that has any affin- 
ity with the sublimity of Ezekiel or Isaiah, or even of 
Homer or ^schylus? Longinus treats of animated, 
empassioned, energetic, or, if you will, elevated writing. 
Of these, abundant instances are to be found in iEschy- 
lus and Homer; but nothing would be easier than to 


show, both by positive and negative proof, that his J^ors 
when translated "sublimity" deceives the English reader, 
by substituting an etymology for a translation. Much of 
what I observe you call sublime, / should denominate 
grand or dignified. But, as I wrote before, we shall 
never see clearly into this subject, unless we turn from 
objects to laws. I am far from thinking that I am able 
to write satisfactorily upon matters so subtile, yet I hope 
to make a trial and must request your patience till that 

I cannot conclude without expressing a hope that the 
beauties of our Lakes may tempt you to revisit them, 
when you will receive a kind welcome from myself and 
family at any time. I am a little too old to be an active 
guide for things at a distance, but I would lead you to 
the most interesting points in my own neighbourhood 
with great pleasure. 

Ever sincerely I remain, dear sir, yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, April 12th, 1825. 
My dear Friend, 

I think we should have heard from you ere this had not 
the same causes prevented you that kept me from writ- 
ing. When our dear friend was taken for ever from 
us, I shrank from the task, and persuaded myself that 
you (sympathizing so truly with us as I know you do) 
would write to some of us. Then came the happy tidings 


of Charles Lamb's freedom ; and again I thought every 
post would bring a report from you of the effect upon 
him, and his good sister, of some pleasant evening you 
had spent together in their quiet home. I expect in vain, 
and the opportunity of sending a packet to London tempts 
me to break the silence, though with little to say of our- 
selves. And why should I dwell on regrets for a loss^ 
which time can never repair to us? We feel it daily. 
Though so far distant from the house which he inhabited, 
his was a hospitable home ever ready for us. No doubt 
you have heard what an easy death he had. He was pre- 
pared for it thoroughly, yet no one through the course of 
a long illness perhaps ever clung more fondly to life. 
Probably his exemption from severe pain might in part 
contribute to this. Then he had been a fortunate and a 
happy man, and was deeply attached to family and 
friends. ... 

Before I turn to other subjects I must mention one 
grievous circumstance. Our poor friend made his own 
will, in consequence of which his intentions towards his 
brother will in some degree be frustrated. He had left 
him his estate (in Cumberland), but having only two wit- 
nesses to the will, the estate will go to the child. This 
is the more to be regretted, as — when she comes of age 
— her fortune will be large, far beyond the needs of any 
woman of her rank ; and the uncle, owing to bad times 
for farming, is in rather confined circumstances. He, 
however, only laments the circumstance as defeating his 
lamented brother's wishes — not at all on his own ac- 
count. He and Mrs. Hutchinson, the sister, will each 
have a handsome legacy. 

^ The death of Thomas Monkhouse. — Ed. 


A few days ago, my brother had a most interesting 
letter from Charles Lamb. He feels Thomas Monk- 
house's death just as I thought he would feel it. Oh! 
that I could flatter myself that this release from the 
necessity of remaining in, or near, London would ever 
bring us the happiness of seeing them here ; and, above 
all, of having them stationary near us for a few months 

— a whole winter — or a whole summer! This, I fear, 
can never be. 

The Quarterly Review is now in the house. My brother 
has read your article with great pleasure, and says you 
think too humbly of the style in which it is done. He 
thinks the matter excellent, the style good enough. I 
have not yet had an opportunity of reading it. 

. . . My brother will soon be sending out a new edition 
of his poems — in six volumes — The Excursion included. 
I never have thanked you for the valuable notes you were 
so kind as to add to my journal of our tour — not, I assure 
you, because they were not prized, but because, except one, 
I did not discover them till the other day, when glancing 
my eye over it, on lending it to a friend. As to compress- 
ing, or rewriting, I shall never do it. My plan would be 

— make another tour, and write a better journal; that 
is, in some respects more comprehensive, in others less 
so. Not that I regret that this is as it is ; for it well 
answers the purpose intended, of reviving recollections. 

I do not think my brother will stir far from home this 
summer, he was so much of a wanderer the last and the 
preceding ; indeed we shall most likely all stay at home, 
so pray contrive to peep in amongst us on your way to 
some other quarter of his Majesty's dominions ; or, come 
on purpose, and stay as long as you like. We cannot 
hope to see you if you have a Continental scheme. 


Give our kind love to Charles and Mary Lamb when 
you see them, and believe me 

Your faithful and affectionate friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 

In what an admirable point of view is your friend 
Flaxman's character set forth inHayley's Life I 
How is your sister ? 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs. Clarkson 

Rydal Mount, 4th May, [1825.] 
My dear Friend, 

An unusual event, a letter from Coleridge, impels me 
to take the pen immediately. He begins by requesting, 
in the most . earnest language, that I will use my interest 
with the Hoares of Hampstead (if I have any), and with 
Mr. Clarkson, to promote an object that he has very 
much at heart. He then states that a Mr. Harrison, a 
Quaker, is coming to settle at Highgate ; and that he is 
most anxious that his friend, Mr. Oilman, should be rec- 
ommended to the said Mr. Harrison, as his medical attend- 
ant. Now this matter, as nakedly stated to us, at this 
distance from Highgate, might seem of little importance ; 
but to dear Coleridge, from his extreme earnestness, it is 
evident few things at this present time are of more. I 
will quote froni his letter, and you shall judge for your- 
selves. But, by the bye, I must first explain that the 
letter (except the introductory sentence) was originally' 
addressed to another friend, who, he afterwards found, 


had no acquaintance with Mr. Harrison ; and Coleridge, 
not having time to write another letter to me, forwarded 
that which had been intended for his male friend. 

" I hear that a neighbour of yours is coming to settle 
at Highgate, and I will venture to entreat you, in my own 
name, and as an act of friendship to me personally, that 
you would use your interest in recommending Mr. Gilman 
as his medical attendant." Coleridge then goes on to 
speak in high terms of Mr. G.'s medical skill, and of his 
excellent moral character; and states that a Mr. Snow 
has been recommended to Mr. Harrison by one of the 
"religious"; and, from what C. says, it appears that he 
is apprehensive of a formidable rival in this Mr. Snow, 
who is favoured by certain denominations of religious 
persons. This will throw some light upon Coleridge's 
wish that his friend should attend Mr. Harrison's family. 
We live in a strange world. What can be so stupid as 
to choose a medical adviser from any other considera- 
tions than professional skill, humanity, and integrity ! 
To these points Coleridge speaks decidedly in Mr. Gil- 
man's favour, and all Coleridge's friends think highly of 
him. . . . Sara's translation of Bayard's Life^ is pub- 
lished ; the style and execution very good. She is to go 
to London in the autumn. Her eyes are not worse, but no 
better. Mrs. Coleridge was very pleasant. Worrying is 
of no use with her children ; and she is now satisfied to 
be quiet, and does not fret and flurry as she used to do. 
Adversity is the best school, I believe, for the best of us ; 
and poor Mrs. Coleridge has had enough of it, in the 

1 A translation from the French, issued in two volumes under the 
title of 77ie Right Joyous and Pleasant History of the Facts ^ Tests ^ and 
Prowesses of the Chevalier Bayard^ the Good Knight without Fear and 
without Reproach : by the Loyal Servant^ first published in 1825. — Ed. 


shape of humiliation and disappointed hopes concerning 
the talents of her sons. Dear Sara is a sweet creature, 
so thoughtful and gentle, patient and persevering. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Sir George Beaumont 

Rydal Mount, May 28th, [1825.] 
My dear Sir George, 

It delights me indeed to receive a letter from you 
written in such a happy state of mind. Heaven grant 
that your best wishes may be realised; and surely the 
promises from this alliance are of the fairest kind. What 
you say of George gives me great pleasure. I hope he 
will enter into your feelings and Lady Beaumont's in 
respect to Coleorton, with a becoming spirit; so that 
your views may not be frustrated. This I have much at 
heart. The place is worthy of the pains you have taken 
with it, and one cannot breathe a better wish for him, as 
your successor, than that his duties there should become 
his principal pleasure. How glad should we be to hear 
that Lady Beaumont is tranquillised; I wish we could 
transport her hither for a week at least under this quiet 
roof, in this bright and fragrant season of fresh green 
leaves and blossoms. Never, I think, have we had so 
beautiful a spring ; sunshine and showers coming just as 
if they had been called for by the spirits of Hope, Love, 
and Beauty. This spot is at present a paradise, if you 
will admit the term when I acknowledge that yesterday 
afternoon the mountains were whitened with a fall of 
snow. But this only served to give the landscape — with 


all its verdure, blossoms, and leafy trees — a striking Swiss 
air, which reminded us of Unterseen and Interlaken. 

Most reluctantly do I give up the hope of our seeing 
Italy together ; but I am prepared to submit to what you 
think best. My own going with any part of my family 
must be deferred till John is nearer the conclusion of his 
University studies; so that for this summer it must not 
be thought of. I am truly sensible of your kind offer of 
assistance, and cannot be affronted at such testimonies 
of your esteem. We sacrifice our time, our ease, and 
often our health, for the sake of our friends (and what 
is friendship unless we are prepared to do so ?). I will 
not then pay money such a compliment, as to allow // 
to be too precious a thing to be added to the catalogue, 
where fortunes are unequal, and where the occasion is 
mutually deemed important. But at present this must 

You say nothing of painting. What was the fate of 
Mont Blanc? and what is the character of the present 
annual exhibitions.? Leslie, I hear, has not advanced. 
John Bull is very bitter against poor Haydon, who, it is 
to be apprehended, is not making progress in the art. 

I never had a higher relish for the beauties of Nature 
than during this spring, nor enjoyed myself more. What 
manifold reason, my dear Sir George, have you and I 
to be thankful to Providence I Theologians may puzzle 
their heads about dogmas as they will, the religion of 
gratitude cannot mislead us. Of that we are sure, and 
gratitude is the handmaid to hope, and hope the har- 
binger of faith. I look abroad upon Nature, I think 
of tlie best part of our species, I lean upon my friends, 
and I meditate upon the Scriptures, especially the Gospel 
of St. John ; and my creed rises up of itself with the 


ease of an exhalation, yet a fabric of adamant. God 
bless you, my ever dear friend. Kindest love to Lady 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

May, 1825. 

It rejoices me to see the Lowther name and the Low- 
ther interest in the minority.* I have not seen the re- 
ports of the evidence before Parliament, only certain 
extracts in newspapers, and passages quoted in the de- 
bates. But whatever may be the weight of such evidence, 
it cannot overbalance in my mind all that I have read in 
history, all that I have heard in conversation, and all that 
I have observed in life. As far as I can learn, it is in a 
great degree a measure ex "parte; but were not this so, I 
must own that, in a complex and subtle religious question, 
as this is, I should reckon little on formal and dressed-up 
testimony, even upon oath, compared with what occurs 
in the regular course of life, and escapes from people in 
unguarded moments. Little value, then, can be put upon 
committee-evidence, contradicting (as here) men's opin- 
ions in their natural overflow. From what may be ob- 
served among the Irish and English Romanists, it is 
justly to be dreaded that there is a stronger disposition 
to approximate to their brethren in Italy, Spain, Portugal, 
and elsewhere, than to unite in faith and practice with 
us Protestants. . . . 

The majority of the people of England are against 
concession, as would have been proved had they been 

1 Presumably in the House of Commons. — Ed. 


fairly appealed to, which was not done because the laity 
were unwilling to take the lead in a matter (notwithstand- 
ing all that has been said to the contrary) eminently eccle- 
siastical ; and the clergy are averse from coming forward 
except in a corporate capacity, lest they should be accused 
of stirring up the people for selfish views ; and thus the 
real opinion of the nation is not embodied. 

I ventured to originate a petition from the two parishes 
of Grasmere and Windermere, including the town of 
Ambleside. There were not half a dozen dissenting 
voices. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

June, 1825. 

... I hear that Mr. Marshall is a member of the Lon- 
don College Committee, and active in all the improve- 
merits now going forward. It cannot be doubted that a 
main motive with the leaders of this and similar institu- 
tions is to acquire influence for political purposes. Mr. 
Brougham mentions, as a strong inducement for founding 
the proposed college, that it will render medical educa- 
tion so much cheaper. It is clearly cheap enough. We 
have far more doctors than can find patients to live by ; 
and I cannot see how society will be benefited by swarms 
of medical practitioners starting up from lower classes in 
the community than they are now furnished by. The 
better able the parents are to incur expense, the stronger 
pledge have we of their children being above meanness, 
and unfeeling and sordid habits. As to teaching Belles 
Lettres, Languages, Law, Political Economy, Morals, etc., 


by lectures, it is absurd. Lecturers may be very useful 
in Experimental Philosophy, Geology, and Natural His- 
tory, or any Art or Science capable of illustration by 
experiments, operations, and specimens; but in other 
departments of knowledge they are, in most cases, worse 
than superfluous. Of course I do not include in the 
above censure College Lectures^ as they are called, when the 
business consists not of haranguing the pupils, but in 
ascertaining the progress they hav^ made. . . . 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry, Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, 
July 2, 1825. 
My dear Friend, 

. . . Though my brother is preparing for the press he 
has not yet even fixed upon a publisher, so it will be 
some time before the poems are out. He has had so 
little profit in his engagement with Longman that he is 
inclined to try another ; and he (Longman), after assur- 
ing him that it would not answer for the concern to allow 
a larger share of profits — or, in other words, more than 
half (my brother being secured from loss) — assured him 
that they should not think themselves unhandsomely used 
if he applied elsewhere (as he had proposed to do). After 
all, I think, it will prove that he is not likely to mend him- 
self; and perhaps may turn again to the Longmans, from 
whom, if he parts, he parts on friendly terms. I wish he 
had made up his mind, and, for my part, am sorry that 
he has ever entertained a thought of change ; for his 
works are not likely to be much aided in sale, by exertions 


even of the most active publishers. Do not mention this 
matter, nor speak of it in reply to me; for I believe 
no one has heard of it except the person employed as 
a negotiator, and, I assure you, there has been no great 
encouragement. I hope we may see you here some 
weeks before the poems can be printed; for if you go 
into Ireland you will certainly not refuse a berth in one 
of these packets to Glasgow, thence to the Hebrides, and 
you will come home by Rydal Mounts to say nothing 
of the inducement of the Lakes. My brother would 
gladly accompany you, and make me one of the party. 
He would do so were money no object; nor indeed 
would he make it an object in the present case, had he 
not a much grander scheme in view, for which all our 
savings must be heaped up; no less than spending a 
whole winter in Italy, and a whole summer in moving 
about from place to place, in Switzerland and elsewhere, 
not neglecting the Tyrol. John Wordsworth will have 
finished at Oxford at the close of the year 1826 ; and we 
talk, if it can be accomplished, of setting out in the spring 
of 1827, and in our day-dreams you always make one 
of the company. I speak seriously; such is our plan. 
But even supposing life, health, and strength are contin- 
ued to us, there will still be difficulties, — the Stamp 
Office, the house, home, and other concerns to be taken 
care of, etc. None of these difficulties, however, appear 
to be insurmountable ; so you must go to the Highlands, 
on purpose to come back by this road, to plan with my 
brother, to give us estimates of expenses, and to enable 
us to settle a hundred things. My brother fancies that 
he might almost make the journey cost nothing by resid-. 
ing two years abroad; but that is too long a period to 
enter into the first scheme, especially for a government 


agent. I trust before 1827 you will be quite satisfied of 
the propriety of retiring from the law, and that in the 
meantime you will have continued to you the cheerful 
spirits which make even the drudgery of your London 
life no misfortune. We keep our scheme entirely to our- 
selves, you only (as a destined sharer in it) are made 
acquainted with it ; and for various reasons — especially 
the delicacy required in managing any business of this 
kind with the rulers of the Stamp Office — we shall not 
speak of it, till it is needful to make arrangements for 
effecting our purpose ; therefore give no hint to any one. 
Surely amongst so many we might make up a tour, — 
print and publish, — that would at least have enough of 
originality in the manner of it to ensure some profit ; but 
we must see our way clearly before us without any help 
of that kind. But no more of this. I cast my eyes with 
fear and trembling on what I have just been writing. Of 
the party from this house, one only (my niece) is going. 
The youngest of us elder ones will have numbered fifty- 
four years next Christmas. This thought leads me to 
your poor sister, who may, I fear, have much pain to en- 
dure before her final release. If she be still near you, 
pray give my kind regards to her and sincerest good 
wishes. ... It would give us great pleasure to hear of 
Charles Lamb's having got through his troublesome busi- 
ness, and being again able thoroughly to enjoy his liberty. 
When you wrote he had a sort of nervous feverishness 
hanging upon him. A long journey, I find, is not to be 
thought of; but I hope his sister and he will make one of 
their little trips before the summer is over. . . . 

We are sadly out of the way of magazines. This I 
say only for Charles Lamb's sake. I begin now to 
despair of seeing any of his last papers till they are 


published all together ; yet if Mr. De Quincey ever does 
find his way back to Rydal, we can borrow the magazines 
from him. With all this scarcity of magazines, novels 
from our lady friends have poured in upon us so fast 
that we are muddled among them, and can never attempt 
to get through all. Besides, I am deep in Madame de 
Genlis's life,^ a hundred times more entertaining than the 
best of our now-a-day novels, and how much more sur- 
prising ! If you have not read this book, pray do so. I 
ought to have told you that after three weeks' stay at Har- 
rogate we hope to have Miss Hutchinson at Rydal, and 
certainly shall, if Mrs. Hutchinson is tempted, according 
to our expectation, by the Harrogate waters. When you 
see the Lambs, tell them about her. They also, I believe, 
know Mrs. H. and her only surviving brother, that excel- 
lent man, John Monkhouse. My brother and sister beg 
their tenderest remembrances, and Dora too, who, in spite 
of your sauciness, will be very glad to borrow your arm 
on tiie Italian precipices. Now say in your next that 
Ireland and Scotland are your choice for this year, and 
that you will come and plan with us for Italy. I wish 
this letter were not half so long, but I know your good 
nature too well to fear that you will be angry, or even 
a little cross. God bless you. 

Ever your affectionate friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 

1 The Comtesse de Genlis (i 746-1830) issued her JlfAnoires in 
1825. — Ed. 


William Wordsworth to Alaric Watts 

Kent's Bank, August 5, 1825. 
Dear Sir, 

The interest which you kindly take in the publication 
of my poems, as expressed by Miss Jewsbury, encourages 
me to trouble you with a letter upon the subject. A pro- 
posal was made to Mr. John Murray, the publisher, by 
Mr. Rogers, to print seven hundred and fifty copies of 
six volumes, including The Excursion^ the author incur- 
ring two-thirds of the expense, and receiving two-thirds 
of the profits. Upon Mr. Murray agreeing to this, I 
wrote him to inform me what would be the expense ; but 
to this letter, written three months ago, I have received 
no answer ; and therefore cannot but think that I am at 
liberty, giving due notice to Mr. Murray, to make an 
arrangement elsewhere. Could a bookseller of spirit and 
integrity be found, I should have no objection to allow 
him to print seven hundred and fifty or a thousand copies, 
for an adequate remuneration, of which you would be a 
judge on whom I could rely. 

My daughter will have thanked Miss Jewsbury in my 
name for her two interesting volumes. Phantasmagoria} 
Knowing the friendship which exists between you and 
that lady, it would gratify me to enlarge upon the pleas- 
ure which my family and I have derived from her society, 
and to express our high opinion of her head and heart. 
It is impossible to foretell how the powers of such a mind 

1 Maria Jane Jewsbury (i 800-1833). Her Phantasmagoria^ or 
Sketches of Life and Character ^ published at Leeds in two volumes, 
was dedicated to Wordsworth. — Ed. 


may develop themselves, but my judgment inclines to 

pronounce her natural bent to be more decidedly toward 

life and manners than poetic work. 

If I have ever the pleasure of seeing you at Rydal 

Mount, I should be happy to converse with you upon 

certain principles of style, taking for my text any one of 

your own animated poems, say the last in your Souvenir^ 

which along with your other pieces in the same work ^ 

I read with no little admiration. With many thanks and 

high esteem, 

I remam 

Your obliged servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Alaric Watts 

LowTHER Castle, August 13, 1825. 

... I do not wish to dispose of the copyright of my 
works. The value of works of imagination it is impos- 
sible to predict. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Alaric Watts 

September 5, 1825. 
My dear Sir, 

The offer of Hurst and Robinson is anything but 

liberal, and, sharing your opinion, I decline it. Mr. 

1 The Sleeping Cupid. — Ed. 

2 The Death of the First-Born ; Kirkstall Abbey, — Ed. 


Longman, on his recent visit, opened the conversation by 
observing that Messrs. Hurst and Robinson were about 
to publish my poems. I answered, no ; that, through a 
friend, I had opened negotiations with them, but that 
their offer had not satisfied me. He asked me to name 
a sum ; and I told him I could not incur the trouble of 
carrying the work through the press for less than £3^^ 
for an edition of a thousand copies, twenty to be placed 
at my own disposal. He made no objection, and pro- 
posed to lay my offer before his partners. Mr. Longman 
behaved perfectly like a gentleman, and had I to deal 
with him alone there would be no obstacle. . . . 

I am, dear sir. 

Your obliged friend and servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Alaric Watts 

-, , ^. Rydal, September 5, 1825. 

My dear Sir, 

Allow me to introduce to you Mr. Quillinan, a particu- 
lar friend of ours, who is just leaving us. He is merely 
passing through Manchester, but I think you will be 
pleased with each other, however short the interview. I 
forgot to thank you for the favourable notice you took of 
the intended edition of my poems in your journal. I 
have this moment received my annual account from Long- 
man. The Excursion has been more than a year out of 
print, and none of the Poems are left. I find that for 
forty-nine cppies of the four volumes I have received 
£2 ^'1/^-6 net profit, great part of which would have been 


swallowed up in advertisements if I had not forbidden 
them a year ago. 

Ever most faithfully, 

Your obliged friend and servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to William Pearson ^ 
My dear Sir, Rydal Mount, Sept- 30th, 1825. 

My brother is much interested by your simple and 
affecting report, concerning the character of Mr. Smith's 
deceased wife, and desires me to say that he is not hope- 
less of being able to throw off a few lines at some time 
or other, in contemplating so interesting a character ; yet 
he can by no means promise for himself. There are, 
however, two points which you have omitted to name, 
and which are essential in the composition of an epitaph 
— namely, her age and the date of her decease ; there- 
fore, be so good as to inform us of these particulars by 
the next post after your receipt of this. The day of my 
brother's departure is not fixed ; but I think it will not 
be later than Thursday, and I very much wish to hear 
from you before that time, as during his journey it is not 
unlikely that his thoughts may take the turn which might 
lead to the accomplishment of his and your wishes. . . . 
I must not omit to tell you that we have read your jour- 
nal with great pleasure. There are two or three passages 

1 Many unpublished letters to William Pearson (i 780-1 856) from 
William, Dorothy, Mary, and Dora Wordsworth are to be found in 
the Memoirs of William Pearson by his widow, printed for private 
distribution, in 1863, by Miss Emily Faithful. None of these, how- 
ever, are of any public or permanent interest. — £d. 


which throw light upon some imperfect recollections of 
my own, which I shall, with your permission, take the 
liberty to copy. . . . 

Believe me, dear sir. 

Yours respectfully, 

D. Wordsworth, Sen. 


William Wordsworth to A^ Watts 



My dear Sir, 

Messrs. Longman & Co. declining my pro^, n, offer 

;£'ioo on publication, £<^o when an edition ot *. hun- 
dred copies shall have been sold, and the printing ot five 
hundred more to be optional on the same terms. This 
I have declined ; but have proposed to allow them to print 
an edition of five hundred copies, they paying me on 
publication ;£"i5o, and placing twenty copies at my dis- 
posal. Mr. Longman acknowledges that there is no 
doubt of a thousand copies being ultimately sold, but he 
says that the last edition of five hundred copies took five 
years to go off. This is not quite accurate. The Fotms 
and The Excursion were both ready for publication in the 
autumn of 1820, and, if I am not grossly mistaken, they 
cleared the expense of printing in less 'than a year ; and 
in June, 1824, there were none of The Excursion on 
hand, and only twenty-five copies of the Miscellaneous 
Poems remaining. Mr. Longman says that six volumes 
cannot be sold for less than ;^2-8. 

I am desirous to hear something of your Souvenir, 
I should be very insensible not to be wishful for its 


success, and sincerely regret that the restrictions under 
which I am, do not allow me to make an exception in its 
behalf, without incurring a charge of disingenuousness. 
I remain, my dear sir, very sincerely. 

Your obliged friend and servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, near Kendal, 
November 8th, 1825. 
My dear Friend, 

My original intention was to meet you with a note of 
:ongratulation on your return to the lonesome chambers 
n King's Bench walk; but I have just heard of poor 
iiary Lamb's illness, and this is a matter of sincere con- 
lolence. I write, then chiefly to inquire after her, and 
ler brother, and next to plead for a continuation of your 
oumal, the first part of which was duly received, and 
ead by all of us with very great pleasure. It made me 
Rrish to touch at those agreeable islands the next voyage 
(ire take, if ever we are destined again to wander beyond 
the shores of Britain. . . . My brother and sister, and 
Miss Hutchinson, have been a month at Coleorton, and 
it is from them that we at home have received the dis- 
tressing tidings of Miss Lamb's illness, brought to them 
by the Master of Trinity, who has also been at Coleor- 
ton. Now, my good friend, I pray you write as soon as 
you receive this. I hope you may be able to say that the 
present attack is of the milder kind, as they have lately 
been, and that she is in the way of recovery. Besides, 
tell us particularly how Charles is himself. I learn that 


the supposed cause of the sister's illness was his having 
had a relapse after a nervous fever. Beyond this, at 
present I require no more than to know that you are safe 
and well, after a journey which I trust has been pleasant; 
for you have the happy art of enjoying, wherever there is 
a possibility of finding anything to enjoy. Leave all par- 
ticulars, only do not retract your promise. 

... I have stayed at home all summer, and have had 
an agreeable lot, and the weather has been better than was 
ever known, and I have had health and strength to allow 
me to take long walks, which (especially upon the moun- 
tains) are as delightful to my feelings as ever in my 
younger days. My sister has been ten weeks absent She 
accompanied Mrs. Thomas Hutchinson to Harrogate, 
stayed some time there, and met her husband and sister 
at Sir George Beaumont's. 

Nothing is yet done towards the printing of the Poems 
except a bargain made with Hurst and Robinson. Long- 
man was at Rydal with his family; my brother made his pro- 
posals to him, which he has no doubt would have been 
cheerfully acceded to by him, but the firm could not agree 
to them. Alaric Watts has been the agent with Hurst, etc., 
and they give all that the author required from the Long- 
mans. I have always believed that they never pushed the 
sale. If this belief be well founded, there can be no doubt 
of my brother's being a gainer by the change. When he is 
at home again, we shall be kept very busy for a while. A 
new arrangement is to be made, and till the work is printed 
he will always be attempting to correct faults. . . . 

Two Miss Southeys are staying with us, so we are a 
lively party. 

Ever your affectionate friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 
Rydal Mount, near Kendal, Nov. 26th, 1825. 

My dear Friend, 

On telling my brother that I was going to write to you, 
with a question, " Have you anything to say to him ? " 
his reply was, "A hundred things. Tell him I wish I 
was as strong as he, that I half envy him his joyous 
spirits, that I should have liked to have gone with him 
— or to go with him — to the Tyrol, to Italy, or any- 
where " ; and he added many more of the hundred things 
which I have forgotten, and your fancy must supply. 
And now — setting aside wishes which, for at least two 
or three years, cannot be gratified (college expenses and 
others being so great) — I must tell you that your letter 
has interested us very much, and I return you a thousand 
thanks, not only for gratifying my wishes in the most 
agreeable manner possible, but for even anticipating 
them. I did not venture to expect the journal for weeks 
to come, yet it arrives before my request reaches you ; 
and, at the same time, your account of Charles and Mary 
Lamb ^.Uays our anxiety, though till we hear from you 
again we cannot be satisfied. Yet I hope he has had no 
second relapse, and that she has been restored to herself 
and her good brother at the accustomed period ; but, after 
all that is passed, there must be a heavy struggle with 
sadness and depression of spirits, before they are re- 
instated in their usual comforts. Pray give our kindest 
regards to them, and write, as soon as you have leisure, 
to tell us exactly how they are going on ; and mention 
also your poor sister, whether she still continues to suffer 


less than is usual in her afflicting malady, and if you 
think it will not give her pain to be reminded of those 
times when I have seen her, or of one whom she will 
never meet again in this world. Will you give my love 
to her, and add that I frequently think of her ? 

I know not that I have anything new to tell you. It 
will be a fortnight on Thursday since my brother and 
sister and Miss Hutchinson returned to Rydal Mount. 
They spent above a month at Coleorton, and, with stops 
on the road, were six weeks absent — that is, my brother 
and Miss H. — but Mrs. W.*s absence had extended to 
ten weeks and a half when she reached home, and truly 
happy she was to settle herself again. My sister and 
Miss H. travelled by coach, waited his arrival at Man- 
chester, and stayed with him there two days, saw some 
pleasant well-informed people, and one most beautiful 
picture, for which seven thousand pounds had been 
refused, — I forget the master's name, the subject is the 
Holy Family, — the Virgin, they tell me, a striking like- 
ness of Sara Coleridge. This picture belongs to a Man- 
chester merchant, who had it from abroad in lieu of a bad 
debt. Now, while I speak of Manchester, let me say a 
word in favour of a friend of Dora's, a Miss Jewsbury, 
who has written for the Souvenir^ and for several other 
periodicals, under the signature of Miss J. J. She is a 
young woman of extraordinary talents, is a good daughter, 
and a good sister to a numerous family at the head of 
which she was left, by the death of their mother, at the age 
of fifteen. We became acquainted with Miss Jewsbury 
last summer, and she spent above a week under our roof. 
Mr. Alaric Watts has encouraged and persuaded Miss 
Jewsbury to publish two volumes in prose and verse (mis- 
cellaneous sketches, short essays, etc.), and there is one 


pretty long tale (" The Unknown ") which is, to me, 
affectingly told. The title of the volumes is Phantasma- 
goria^ a title which would not be very taking to me were 
the author a stranger. I mention it, however, in order 
that if you have leisure you may glance your eye over the 
book ; and, as you are sometimes a dabbler in reviews, 
yrou may have an opportunity of serving the authoress, or 
perhaps Charles Lamb could slip a notice into one of the 
magazines. I cannot ask either of you to review the 
volumes, though if you would do so, and could in con- 
science speak favourably, it would be a great kindness 
done to a deserving person, and gratefully received. I 
think I told you that Hurst and Robinson are to publish 
for my brother; but preliminaries are, I find, not yet 
entirely settled, and our work is not begun. I much fear 
that the printers will not get through in time for the 
spring sale, and if so it is the loss of another year. 

To return to your tour. Guernsey and Mont St. Michel 
set me upon wishing, for it would neither be difficult 
nor expensive to accomplish a circuit thereabouts if we 
happen to be in the south of England. As to revisiting 
those vales of the Alps where you have been tracking 
our steps, it is so large a scheme, that now, in this time 
of impossibility, I go no further than an exclamation, "If it 
ever could be, how delightful I " We had just such bright 
weather as you describe in your passage from Meyringen 
to Grindelwald when we travelled the contrary way, 
excepting a thundershower while we rested at the chilet, 
and ate our dinner under the shed at the door opposite 
the Wetterhom, alternately hidden and revealed by driv- 
ing clouds and flashing sunbeams. You ask for an itin- 
erary of our route from Frankfort to Lucerne. It was 
Frankfort, Darmstadt, Heidelberg, Bruchsal, Karlsruhe, 


Rastadt, Baden-Baden, Offenburg, Homberg (through a 
beautiful valley), ascended from it through Black Forest 
to Villingen, Donaueschingen (where is the source of the 
Danube), Schaffhausen, Zurich, along the banks of the 
Limmat to Baden, standing close to that river, Lenyberg, 
Margenthal ^ (it was here we met with the two handsome 
maidens who danced with poor Thomas Monkhouse), 
Herzogenbuchsee (here we slept in our carriages), Bern, 
Thun, Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Mei- 
ringen, Handek, back to Meiringen, over the Briinig to 
Sarnen, Engelberg, back again next day to Stanz, re- 
embarked at Stanzstad, crossed that part of the lake to 
Vitznau, walked thence to Lucerne. I spell wretchedly;* 
but a young friend of mine has begun to re-copy my jour- 
nal, with omissions. In the way of abridging I can do little. 
. . . For the fair copy I wish, before it is bound, to pro- 
cure a set of Swiss costumes, and hope by your kindness 
to be enabled to do so. Perhaps some friend of yours 
may be going into Switzerland, or perhaps they may be 
purchased in London at no very great expense. Should 
the expense be moderate we should like two sets (one 
for my sister's tour also), but as hers is already bound 
it is of less consequence, because the prints could not 

perhaps be inserted without injury to the binding. 

.'. • . . . . .* 

Remember the Hebrides, which you have not seen, and 
we are in the way to or from Ireland. . . . God bless you. 

Ever your affectionate friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 

1 This was possibly Marthalen. There is no clue to the mis- 
spelled Lenyberg. — 'Ed. 

^ The spelling of the names of places was bad, and the whole 
course of the " itinerary " was mixed up confusedly from memory. 
See thQ Journals of Dorothy Wordsworthy Vol.11, pp. 163-259. — Ed. 



What would I not have given to have heard the ava- 
lanches with you ! 

If the price of costumes in London is beyond what you 
like to venture unauthorized, pray tell me what it is, and 
I will say buy, or not buy. Should you be able to procure 
the costumes by the middle of January a friend of mine 
wUl bring the parcel. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Marshall 

Rydal Mount, December 23d, [1825.] 


. . . Have you heard the sad news of our intended dis- 
missal from Rydal Mount ? * You will recollect my tell- 
ing you that another year had been granted, though with 
a warning that Mrs. Huddlestone might want the place. 
This is thought little of as Mrs. H. said she neither 
wished to leave Temple Sowerby nor to live here. But 
through the Crackanthorps we heard that she really 
intended to live at Rydal Mount. My brother took his 
resolution immediately, and purchased a piece of land on 
which to build a house. ... It is just below Rydal 
Mount, between the chapel and Mr. Tillbrook's, com- 
manding as fine a view as from our terrace. ... I tell 
William (the Patterdale estate paying such poor interest 
for the money it cost) if he could sell that, he might feel 
himself not much poorer — considering the present rent 
of Rydal Mount — than at present. It strikes me as 

* See the poem, written in 1826, and entitled Composed when a 
Probability existed of our being obliged to quit Rydal Mount as a Resi- 
dence y Poetical Works, Eversley edition, Vol. VIII, p. 289. — Ed. 



possible that Mr. Marshall might buy this little estate, 
as lying near his property in Patterdale. I am sure my 
brother would be willing to sell it Still, however, we 
have a hope that we may be allowed to stay where we 
are, that Mrs. H. (who we know, must have unwillingly 
yielded to importunity in giving her consent) may change 
her mind, or that something may happen to prevent her 
coming. We think that in such case Lady Fleming can- 
not be so cruel as to turn us away ; besides — even if she | 
has a particular dislike to us as tenants — it would not 
be less disagreeable to have us as neighbours in a house 
of our own, so close to her chapel and her hall. . . . 

Do not forget my message to Mr. Marshall. It would 
indeed be a relief to my mind, if (in case my brother 
does build) that property were sold to meet the expense. 


Maty Wordsworth to Alaric Watts 

Rydal Mount, December 27, 1825. 
Dear Sir, 

From your continued silence, we cannot but be appre- 
hensive that some demur, which is causing you trouble 
on the part of Messrs. Hurst and Robinson, has taken 
place. At the same time Mr. Wordsworth feels it his 
duty to request that he may be informed how the matter 
stands, it being both disagreeable and very inconvenient 
to remain in this state of uncertainty. I feel the more 
sorry thus to trouble you, having heard through Miss 
Jewsbury how very much you had been harassed ; and 
nothing short of the peculiar injury which this delay 
occasions to Mr. W., giving him time to exhaust himself 


by attempting needless corrections, at least what we pre- 
sume to consider such, could justify my having expressed 
myself so strongly. 

I need not tell you how much the enjoyment of the 
very pleasant day we passed with Mrs. Watts would have 
been heightened had we been so fortunate as to have 
found you at home. 

I remain, dear sir, with high respect, 

Your obliged servant, 

M. Wordsworth. 




William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown} 

Rydal Mount, 17th January, 1826. 
My dear Sir, 

I reply to your letter instantly, because I am able to 
decide upon general grounds, long ago established in my 
mind. But first let me thank you for addressing yourself 
directly to me. This procedure adds to the esteem which 
I have always entertained for you. My answer must be 
unfavourable to your wishes, as it would be to those of 
any one similarly circumstanced. The opinion, or rather 
judgment, of my daughter must have been little influenced 
by what she has been in the habit of hearing from me 
since her childhood, if she could see the matter in a dif- p 
ferent light. I therefore beg that the same reserve and 
delicacy which have done you so much honor may be pre- 
served; that she may not be called to think upon the 
subject, and I cannot but express the hope that you will 
let it pass away from your mind. 

Thus far I have been altogether serious, as the case 
required. I cannot conclude without a word or two in a 
lighter tone. If you have thoughts of marrying, do look 
out for some lady with a sufficient fortune for both of 
you. What I say to you now, I would recommend \.^ 

^ It may have been a member of the Cookson family, or one of the 
Monkhouses. — Ed. 


every naval officer and clergyman, who is without pros- 
pect of professional advancement. Ladies of some for- 
tune are as easily won as those without, and for the most 
part as deserving. Check the first liking to those who 
have nothing. 

Your letter will not be mentioned. I have a wretched 
pen and cannot procure a better, or I should be tempted 
to add a few words upon Rydal topics ; but I must con- 
tent myself with adding my sincere and ardent wishes for 
your health and happiness. I remain, 

Very faithfully your friend and cousin, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Alaric Watts 

January 23, 1826. 
My dear Sir, 

Accept my cordial thanks for the care you have taken 
of my interests, and the prudent precautions your good 
sense and regard for me have led you to employ. Be 
assured that I never imputed remissness or negligence to 
you, and I cannot but admire the delicacy of your reserve 
in regard to persons of whose insolvency you had no 
proof. Truly do I S3anpathise with your probable losses 
upon this occasion. I will not detain you longer than to 
express a hope that the day may arrive when I shall be 
able to show, by something more substantial than words, 
in what degree 

I am your sincere and obliged friend, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

P.S. — Pray give our best regards to Mrs. Watts. 




Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Brinsop Court, near Hereford, 
Feb. 25th, 1826. 
My dear Friend, 

I hope you have not set me down as an ungrateful one 
for not having sooner thanked you for your interesting 
letter, and Mrs. Collier for her great kindness in sparing 
to me the valuable Memorials of her Tour, which — in 
course of time — would, I think, become more valuable 
for the cause which in some degree seems to reconcile 
you to accepting them for me ; namely, that to her they 
are now become melancholy memorials. The assurance 
that, if her life be prolonged, she will hereafter cling with 
especial delight to the memory of those few weeks which 
cheered her declining husband's spirits, makes me unwill- 
ing to deprive her of anything that might assist her recol- 
lections ; and, if you feel as I do, pray do not accept her 
gift, but return it to her with a thousand thanks from me. 
I recollect Mrs. Collier, and her hospitable kindness, 
when she lived in Hatton Gardens. I once dined there 
with you, at that time when I had travelled with you upon 
the coach from Bury. Perhaps this circumstance may 
help her to recollect something about me. 

My young friend gets on slowly with the journal, 
therefore the prints will not be wanted for a long time ; 
however, I will attend to your advice, and have it bound 
with blank leaves, so as to receive whatever prints I may 
be so fortunate as to pick up. You all perhaps blame 
me for having taken so little pains in curtailing it I 
have done no more than cut out passages (sometimes 
pretty long ones) in giving it a hasty reading over. 


It is time that I should explain the date of this letter. 
Here I arrived yesterday week, having parted from my 
brother and his daughter at Kendal just ten days before. 
I halted a few days at Manchester with Miss Jewsbury, 
the authoress of Phantasmagoria^ etc., and was even more 
pleased with her at home than abroad. Her talents are 
extraordinary; she is admirable as a daughter and sis- 
ter, and has besides many valuable friends, to some of 
whom I was introduced. From Manchester I came by 
way of Worcester, and the delightful hills of Malvern, 
to Hereford, where I was met by Mrs. Wordsworth's sis- 
ter. Brinsop Court is six miles from Hereford, the coun- 
try rich and climate good, far less rain than we have in 
(Vestmorland ; but, as I have always said, our compensa- 
dons do much more than make amends; our dry roads, 
Birhere — after the heaviest shower — one can walk with 
:omfort, and above all our mountains and lakes, which 
ire just as beautiful, just as interesting in winter as in 
>ummer. Brinsop Court is, however, even now no cheer- 
ess spot, and flowers in the hedges and blossoms in the 
lumerous orchards will soon make it gay. Our fireside 
s enlivened by four fine well-managed children, and 
:heerf ul friends ; and Mrs. Hutchinson is one of the most 
^leasing and excellent of women, the sister of our good 
xiend, Thomas Monkhouse. . . . My brother's poems 
ire quite ready for the press, but no arrangements can 
>e made till it is known whether Hurst and Robinson 
Rrill go on, or not ; and even should they promise fair, I 
iardly think it would be safe to conclude the bargain till 
the mercantile and bookselling world is a little more set- 
tled. My brother hitherto has been most fortunate. 
While people are suffering losses on all sides, he has 
wholly escaped; and with respect to the poems he was 


particularly fortunate, for just before Hurst and Robin- 
son stopped payment he had sent his first volume to Mr. 
Alaric Watts to be forwarded to them, and he (Mr. Watts) 
had the prudence to keep it back, having reason to sup- 
pose the house was tottering. 

If you should write to me before all the money alarms 
are settled (and I hope you will, for there is no reason 
to expect a speedy settlement), pray tell me what you 
think of the Columbian bonds*. Here we see no news- 
papers but the Hereford Joumaly and cannot form a notion 
of probabilities ; only I am sorry to tell you that one of 
Mrs. Wordsworth's sisters has had the imprudence to 
invest the greatest part of her property in the Columbians 
when at 90. We have this day heard that the dividends 
cannot be paid, while at the same time the price of bonds 
is so low that she cannot possibly think of selling out. 
Much as we hear of losses and bankruptcies^ I am more 
grieved for my kind friend, "Joanna, that wild-hearted 
maid," than for any one else whom I know. . . . 

No, I cannot add the sequel of poor Graham's story to 
my journal. It is enough for me that the knowledge of it 
sullies my remembrances of our bewitching voyage on the 
Lake of Lucerne, when the hills were wrapped in green 
soft gloomy light, without shadows, and again the sun 
burst forth in all its brilliancy. But you had more to 
tell, and pray let me have it. The story interested us all 
very much ; and indeed we had expected nothing good 
from him. 

I shall remain in Herefordshire till May if nothing 
unforeseen happens. My brother talks of meeting me 
in North Wales, and going with me to the top of Snow- 
don ; but I do not much depend on his being able to 


leave home. At all events, the time of his coming will 
be governed by the time of the general election. If it be 
put off till autumn, it will probably be the end of May or 
banning of June before he can come. That is the time 
when you lawyers are busiest, I believe, otherwise you 
might be tempted to join us ; I should be no less glad of 
your support on Snowdon than on St. Salvador. Adieu. 

Yours truly, 

D. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to William Pearson 

Rydal Mount, Monday, 
(Postmark, March 6, 1826.) - 
My dear Sir, 

If I am not mistaken, I lent you some time ago a copy 
of my little tract upon the Lakes, which contains a cor- 
rected copy of a sonnet upon " Long Meg and her Daugh- 
ters." These alterations I want for the new edition of 
my poems. I should be glad if you would be kind 
enough to copy them for me, and send them. 

Ever most sincerely yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to William Pearson 

My dear Sir, 

I am exceedingly obliged to you for the book, and 
happy to say I was not the least the worse for our walk 
to the top of Fairfield, which has left behind some 


pleasant remembrances. We will read Lockhart's Lift 
of Bums before next Tuesday, when we shall be very 
happy to see you. 

William returns a thousand thanks for your kindness 
in sending over the dog. He had intended despatching 
a boy for it to-morrow morning. 

In haste, believe me, truly yours, 

D. Wordsworth. 

I shall be very glad before the summer and autumn 
are gone by to have another mountain walk with you. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, 6th April, 1826. 
My dear Friend, 

My sister had taken flight for Herefordshire when 
your letter, for such we guessed it to be, arrived. It 
was broken open (pray forgive the offence) and all your 
charges of concealment and reserve frustrated. We are 
all, at all times, so glad to hear from you that we could 
not resist the temptation to purchase the pleasure at the 
expense of the peccadillo, for which we beg pardon with 
united voices. 

You are kind enough to mention my poems. Miscella- 
neous poems ought not to be jumbled together at ran- 
dom. Were this done with mine the passage from one to 
another would often be insupportably offensive ; but in 
my judgment the only thing of much importance in ar- 
rangement is that one poem should shade off. happily 
into another, and the contrasts where they occur be 


clear of all harshness or abruptness. I differ from you 
and Lamb as to the classification of imagination, etc. It 
is of slight importance as matter of reflection, but great 
as matter of feeling^ for the reader, by making one poem 
smooth the way for another. If this be not attended to, 
classification by subject, or by form, is of no value ; for 
nothing can compensate for the neglect of it When I 
have the pleasure of seeing you we will take this matter 
up, as a question of literary curiosity. Your supposed 
biography entertained me much. I could give you the 
other side. Farewell. 

W. W. 

William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

April, 1826. 

There is no material change in the classification, 
except that the Scotch poems have been placed all 
together, under the title of " Memorials of Tours in Scot- 
land" ; this has made a gap in the " Poems of Imagination *' 
which has been supplied by Laodamia^ Ruth, and one or 
two more, from the class of those on " The Affections." 


William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, April 27th, 1826. 
My dear Friend, 

I employ Mrs. W.'s pen for your advantage and to spare 
my own eyes, which are plagued with irritability. With- 
out wasting time upon thanks, I will proceed to business. 


It was very unlucky that you did not see Mr. Watts, as 
he could have told you everything. He negotiated for 
me last autumn with H. and R. ; the terms, they to print 
one thousand copies bearing every expense, and allowing 
me twenty-five copies for my personal friends, and twenty- 
five more Mr. W. stipulated for, to be sent at his direction 
— or mine, if I chose to interfere — to such literary persons 
as might be thought likely to favour the sale of the work. 
The edition to be* five volumes, including The Excursion. 
The sum of ;£'i5o to be paid on delivery of the copy 
to them, and £\^o more when the work was ready for 

With these terms I was satisfied. But before the work 
was prepared Mr. W. had reason to suspect that all was 
not well with the firm, and prudently kept back, — with 
great delicacy, by the bye, — exposing himself to some 
censure with me for procrastination, rather than incurring 
the risk of injuring those whom he then only suspected. 
In consequence, I stand wholly disengaged. I left Long- 
man because the terms were very disadvantageous to me, 
viz., they incurring all the risk, — which has been proved 
to me to be nothing, — and I having one half the profits, 
divided by themselves when they had paid themselves. I 
proposed other terms, which they could not accede to, nor 
I to the new ones proposed by them. So we parted ami- 
cably. I looked about for a more liberal and a more 
active publisher. Rogers concluded with Murray a verbal 
agreement subject to my approval, two thirds of the profit to 
be mine, I taking two thirds of the risk and expense. Before 
/closed, I wrote to inquire of Murray what that expense 
would amount to. Three months more elapsed without 
an answer, upon which I took leave of him. Observe 
this was before Mr. W. kindly undertook the business. 


He has had a great deal of experience, and totally disap- 
proves of my taking any part of the expense ; and I had 
found myself, that after the several editions had paid the 
expenses, — which was done in a great measure, or en- 
tirely, by a flush of sale on their first appearance, — my 
moiety of the profits was almost eaten away by subse- 
quent advertising. The Excursion has been nearly three 
years out of print, and the four volumes about a year and 
a half ; they have been, as I know from several quarters, 
a good deal inquired after, so that an active publisher would 
have a probability of being speedily reimbursed. I know 
that the trade is depressed, and perhaps I ought not to 
expect quite so much as £z^o\ but I stickle for that sum 
as at the best but a poor repayment for the trouble I have 
been at in revising the old, and adding several new poems, 
which, though individually of no great moment, amount; 
on a rude guess to eight hundred or a thousand verses. 
Besides, I have a private reason for straining for that 
sum. Upon the strength of the engagement with R. 
and H. I was emboldened to give, for a field contiguous 
to my present abode, more than three times its value, for 
the sake of building upon it, if I thought proper. This 
scrap of land the pastoral Jew of whom I bought it, as if 
he had known of my expectation, would not yield up to 
me for less than £z^^ precisely. 

I have now done, and thank you again for your kind 
offer. As you say that Mr. Watts has actually left town, 
I still look for a letter from him daily ; he was charged 
to commence printing the first volume immediately, if 
necessary, in case he was successful in bargaining in 
some quarter. I ought to have said that the last edition 
amounted only to five hundred copies. Knowing how I 
am at present circumstanced, you can do nothing but 


make a trial where you think there is any chance of suc- 
cess, till we hear further from Mr. Watts. As to what 
you say about the negotiation being in better hands than 
your own, I ascribe it only to a degree of modesty rare 
in all men of these days, and singularly rare in men of 
your profession and of mine. 

One word on the subject of arrangement. Lamb's order 
of time is the very worst that could be followed except 
where determined by the course of public events ; or, if 
the subject be merely personal, in the case of juvenile 
poems, or those of advanced age. For example, I place 
the Ode to Enterprise among the " Poems on Imagination/' 
which class concludes with Tintern Abbey^ as being more 
admired than any other. According to my present arrange- 
ment the Ode to Enterprise immediately precedes it ; but 
this is objectionable. The author cannot be supposed to 
be more than between six or eight and twenty when Tintem 
was written, and he must be taken for about fifty when he 
produced the other : so that it would perhaps be better 
placed elsewhere. I should like to talk this matter over 
with you, for the sake of the general principle, as affecting 
all the arts, in individual composition. 

Do not go on to the Continent. You may carve out a 
much more interesting tour by taking the best part of 
North Wales, — and our glorious country ! — on your way 
to Ireland ; and return from the north having seen the 
Giant's Causeway, by Staffa and lona, etc., to us. I am 
very disinterested in recommending this wide excursion, 
as it will allow you less time for us. But the steam- 
boats make it irresistibly tempting, and few things would 
give me greater pleasure than being your companion, 
along with my sister, who is as keen of travelling as ever. 
Your account of your own sister is very melancholy, and 


we truly sympathise with you ; but let us bear in mind 
that, to the really pious, no affliction comes amiss. A 
religion like hers is worth all the other knowledge in the 
world a thousand times told. As to Italy, it seems to fly 
horn, me and mine, as it did from ^neas and his com- 
panions of old ; if it can be effected we shall be right 
happy in your company. I say nothing of building, as 
not yet entered upon. Farewell. Mrs. Wordsworth joins 
in kindest regards. As soon as I hear from Mr. Watts I 
shall write again. 

Affectionately and faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

P.S. — Very glad to have good news of the Lambs. 
Our best love to them. 

William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

May, 1826. 
My dear Friend, 

I have just received your third letter; your second 
would have been answered long ago, but I have been 
waiting in vain for a reply to a couple addressed to 
Mr. Watts. 

The first question is — 

Are Robinson and Hurst likely to go forward again so 
as to make it expedient to recommence a negotiation with 
them? . . . 

Try for an interview with Mr. Watts ; he is master of 
all particulars, as the materials of the volumes, proposed 
mode of printing, etc. I will, however, mention that the 


intended edition will make the eighth from the first in one 
volume ; the number of copies has varied from a thousand 
to seven hundred and five hundred. The last, published 
in the autumn of 1820, was five hundred, paid its expenses 
instantly, but was not exhausted till 1824. The prose book 
on the Lakes is not intended to be included, the volumes 
will be bulky enough without it. 

I know not what more need be added. Mr. Watts has 
the first volume in his possession, corrected to go to press 
immediately ; the rest are prepared also. 

Truly am I sorry to give him, and you, and my other 
friends so much trouble. 

The poems, The Excursion in particular, have been far 
too long out of print ; Rogers' opinion is characterised by 
his usual good sense. 

Mrs. Wordsworth's brother, who has conducted a bank 
for nearly forty-five years, with the highest confidence on 
the part of the public, has become a bankrupt through mis- 
fortune, the perfidy of a partner, and overconfidence in 
unworthy persons. Miss Hutchinson has not suffered, nor 
Mrs. Wordsworth, but some part of the family have ; in 
particular the late T. Monkhouse's estate would have 
suffered but for the overliberality of his high-minded 
brother, who means to bear the loss himself. This you 
will the more admire if you bear in mind that T. M.'s 
intentions towards him were frustrated by the informality 
of his will, made unluckily by himself. The widow is off 
to the Continent. If I do not build, I will strain a point 
to accompany you into Ireland. 

Ever most faithfully, 

W. W. 



William Wordsworth to Alaric Watts 

LowTHER Castle, June 18, 1826. 
My dear Sir, 

... I will with pleasure speak to Mr. De Quincey of 
your wish to have him among the contributors to your 
Souvenir ; but, whatever hopes he may hold out, do not 
be tempted to depend upon him. He is strangely irreso- 
lute. A son of Mr* Coleridge lives in the neighbour- 
hood of Ambleside, and is a very able writer; but he 
also, like most men of genius, is little to be depended 
upon. Your having taken the Souvenir into your own 
hands makes me still more regret that the general rule I 
have laid down precludes my endeavouring to render you 
any service in that way. . . . 

I remain, my dear sir, 

Your much obliged friend, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

[Written by his daughter Dora] 

August, 1826. 

From Llanberis mount Snowdon, and descend to Dol- 
barden Inn in the Vale of Llanberis, and by the lake to 
the romantic village of Cwm y Glo, whence to Carnar- 
von, Bangor, and Holyhead for Ireland ; this will have 
shown you most of the finest things in North and South 


Wales ; but observe — with the exception of Conway 
Castle, a most magnificent thing — the whole line of the 
great road to Ireland from Llangollen, including Capel 
Curig to Bangor, would leave your knowledge of North 
Wales very imperfect. But this might easily be taken at 
some future time, when you come into the north of Ireland, 
by coaching through Llangollen to Bangor, thence walk- 
ing to Conway, and so on by Abergele to Rhyl, from 
within two miles of which place is a daily steamboat to 
Liverpool, as there is one also from Bangor to Liverpool, 
a most delightful voyage of eight or nine hours. Of Ire- 
land I can say nothing but that everybody sees Killamey. 
There are some fine ruins of monasteries, etc., not far 
from Limerick, The Vale of the Dargle and the Wick- 
low Mountains would be in your way from Killamey to 
Dublin. Supposing you to start from Dublin, you would 
go by Limerick, and return by the Wicklow country ; but 
to one who should leave Wales out, the best way of see- 
ing Ireland from London would be to go from London to 
Bristol, and thence to Cork, Killamey, Dublin, and the 
Giant's Causeway. From Belfast there will no doubt be 
a steamboat to Glasgow, and so on by steam to lona and 
Staffa, and as much of the west of Scotland as you could 
conveniently see, returning by Westmorland. 

I have given up all hopes of succeeding in a bargain 
for my poems; so they may rest. Poor Southey has 
lately lost his youngest daughter, a delightful creature of 
fourteen. Farewell. Believe me, with love from this 

Your faithful friend, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Thomas De Quincey 

Rydal Mount, 
Thursday, i6th November, [Postmark, 1826.] 
My dear Sir, 

A letter of good tidings respecting Mrs. De Quincey 
and your family cannot, I am sure, be unwelcome ; and 
besides, she assures me that you will be glad to hear of 
my safe return to Rydal after a nine months' absence.' I 
called at your cottage yesterday, having first seen your 
son William at the head of the school-boys ; as it might 
seem a leader of their noontide games, and Horace 
among the tribe ; both as healthy-looking as the best, 
and William very much grown. Margaret was in the 
kitchen preparing to follow her brothers to school, and I 
was pleased to see her also looking stout and well, and 
much grown. Mrs. De Quincey was seated by the fire 
above stairs, with her baby on her knee. She rose and 
received me cheerfully, as a person in perfect health, and 
does indeed seem to have had an extraordinary recovery ; 
and as little suffering as could be expected. The babe 
looks as if it would thrive, and is what we call a nice 
child, neither big nor little. 

Mrs. De Quincey seemed on the whole in very good 
spirits ; but, with something of sadness in her manner, 
she told me you were not likely to be very soon at home. 
She then said that you had at present some literary em- 
ployments at Ekiinburgh ; and had, besides, had an offer 
(or something to this effect) of a permanent engagement, 
the nature of which she did not know ; but that you hesi- 
tated about accepting it, as it might necessitate you to 


settle in Edinburgh. To this I replied, " Why not settle 
there for the time at least that this engagement lasts? 
Lodgings are cheap at Ekiinburgh, and provisions and 
coals not dear. Of these facts I had some weeks' expe- 
rience four years ago." I then added that it was my firm 
opinion that you could never regularly keep up to your 
engagements at a distance from the press ; and, said I, 
"Pray tell him so when you write." She replied, "Do 
write yourself." Now I could not refuse to give her 
pleasure by so doing, especially being assured that my 
letter would not be wholly worthless to you, having such 
agreeable news to send of your family. The little cottage 
and everything seemed comfortable. 

I do not presume to take the liberty of advising the 
acceptance of this engagement, or of that ; only I would 
venture to request you to consider well the many impedi- 
ments to literary employments to be regularly carried on 
in limited time, at a distance from the press, in a small 
house, and in perfect solitude. You must well know that 
it is a true and faithful concern for your interests, and 
those of your family, that prompts me to call your atten- 
tion to this point ; and, if you think that I am mistaken, 
you will not, I am sure, take it ill that I have thus freely 
expressed my opinion. 

It gave me great pleasure to hear of your good health 
and spirits, and you, I am sure, glad to have good 
accounts of all our family except poor Dora, who has been 
very ill indeed — dangerously ill; but now, thank God, 
she is gaining ground, I hope daily. Her extreme illness 
was during my absence, and I was therefore spared great 
anxiety, for I did not know of it till she was convalescent 
I was, however, greatly shocked by her sickly looks. 
Whenever weather permits she rides on horseback. My 


brother's eyes are literally quite well. This surely is as 
great a blessing, and I hope we are sufficiently thankful 
for it. He reads aloud to us by candlelight, and uses 
the pen for himself. 

I cannot express how happy I am to find myself at 
home again after so long an absence, though my time has 
passed very agreeably, and my health been excellent. I 
have had many very long walks since my return, and am 
more than ever charmed with our rocks and mountains. 
Rich autumnal tints, with an intermixture of green ones, 
still linger on the trees. 

Make my respects to Mr. and Mrs. and Miss Wilson, 
and believe me, my dear sir. 

Yours affectionately, 

D. Wordsworth. 

One 6* dock Thursday, — I have been at Grasmere, and 
again seen your wife. She desires me to say that she is 
particularly anxious to hear from you on her father's 
account. The newspaper continues to come directed to 
my brother, though before Dr. Stoddart left England my 
brother wrote to request that it might not. The new 
editors no doubt have wished to continue the connection 
with you ; but we think that it would be much better that 
Mrs. De Quincey should write to order it not to be sent, 
at least until your return to Grasmere, especially as at 
present you are not likely to contribute anything to the 
paper. She agrees with me in thinking it right so to do ; 
and will write to the editor, unless you order to the con- 
trary. Perhaps you will write yourself. 



William Wordsworth to T. Taylor 

Rydal Mount, 22d November, 1826. 
My dear Sir, 

... It gave me much concern to hear from Sir George 
Beaumont how ill you had been used. It is some conso- 
lation, however, when one supposed friend has betrayed 
you to find that he has created an opportunity for so 
many true ones to give proof of their good wishes. I 
shall be glad and proud to have my name enrolled in this 
list, upon the present occasion. . . . My volumes have 
long been out of print, but I believe a few copies of the 
quarto edition of The Excursion are in Mr. Longman's 
hands, and it is my wish to present you with one. . . . 

I had the pleasure of seeing much of our common friend 
Sir George Beaumont, who, along with Mr. Rogers, was 
down here last summer. He was wonderfully well, and 
enjoyed his old haunts with a freshness most enviable. . . . 

Very faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Edward Moxon 

[Postmark, Dec. 8, 1826.] 
Dear Sir, 

It is some time since I received your little volume, for 
which I now return you my thanks, and also for the 
obliging letter that accompanied it. 

Your poem I have read with no inconsiderable pleas- 
ure ; it is full of natural sentiments and pleasing pictures. 


Among the minor pieces, the last pleased me much the 
best, and especially the latter part of it. This little vol- 
ume, with what I saw of yourself during a short interview, 
interest me in your welfare ; and the more so, as I always 
feel some apprehension for the destiny of those who in 
youth addict themselves to the composition of verse. It 
is a very seducing employment, and, though begun in dis- 
interested love of the Muses, is too apt to connect itself 
with self-love, and the disquieting passions which follow 
in the train of that, our natural infirmity. Fix your eye 
upon acquiring independence by honourable business, 
and let the Muses come after, rather than go before. . . . 
Excuse this freedom; and believe me, my dear sir, 
very faithfully, 

Your obliged servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, December i8th, 1826. 
My dear Friend, 

I have little to say but thanks for your lively and very 
interesting sketch of your Irish tour. My brother is 
much pleased with it, and you will not doubt (knowing 
my delight in travelling) that the dreary tracts you some- 
times passed through did not deter me from a wish, at 
some period, to visit the Giant's Causeway and the Devil's 
Haunts, the soft lakes of Killarney, the towers, the ruins, 
etc. I enter entirely into your notions of Dublin, in 
comparison with Edinburgh ; and can even sympathise 
with your pleasure in O'ConnelPs society, and think ^^«r 


loss was gain in travelling by the wrong road, thereby 
securing an eight hours' discussion with that champion 
of the Papists, and of liberty, you will say. Well, let 
that pass. I will not inquire after the treason you talked ; 
nor, if you should in an unguarded moment let it out, will 
I inform against you ; and if ever we should go to Ireland 
I should like very well to be introduced to the domain of 
Derrynane,^ and have no horror, even of the mansion and 
the priest, under the sanction of your guidance and my 
brother's protection. But Ireland, and even North Wales, 
do not make any part of my present travelling wishes; 
nor have I any that can be absolutely termed hopes^ for 
my dear niece's long-delayed recovery keeps us still 
anxious and watchful. Not that we apprehend danger if 
proper means be used, but it seems nearly certain that 
change of air and scene will be required, as soon as 
weather will permit in the spring, and this conviction pre- 
vents us from looking at or contriving anything discon- 
nected with her state of health. She talks with glee of 
Italy ; but such a journey could not be accomplished with- 
out strength to begin with, and a salutary change for her 
may be procured at much less expense. Most likely she 
will be taken into Somersetshire with her mother. . . . 
She is very much better within the last three weeks, and 

rides on horseback whenever we have a fine day. 

• •* . • . • • .• 

We expect John from Oxford this week. He was to 
take his degree to-day ; wrote in good spirits after passing 
the examination, and the same post brought a satisfactory 
letter from his tutor, lamenting his illness in the summer 
— and consequent inability to study — having prevented 

1 0*Conneirs home at the foot of Kenmare River in County 
Kerry. — Ed. 


him from going up for honours, which, "from the man- 
ner he passed the examination,'' he had ''no doubt he 
would have attained." 

What do you say to the war? It seems there never 
was one which so few voices were raised against. I am 
afraid of the French proving false, — that is, of their seek- 
ing occasion to quarrel with us, — and if we once begin 
to fight with them again, farewell to peace. 

When you see Charles and Mary Lamb, give our kind- 
est regards to them. I wish they would now and then 
let us see their handwriting ; a single page from Charles 
Lamb is worth ten postages. However, it is well to hear 
good tidings, and we have no right to complain of their 
silence. Your assurance that they were well, and in good 
spirits, gave us great satisfaction. 

My brother does really intend, by the same lady who 
conveys this to London, to write to Longman respecting 
the publishing of his poems. I heartily wish that an 
agreement, and speedy printing, may follow. He has 
lately written some very good sonnets. I wish that I 
could add that The Recluse was brought from his hiding- 
place. Your grateful and affectionate friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 

Have you chanced to see Miss Coleridge? She is in 
London. The Southeys are well. Mrs. Coleridge is in 
sad spirits about her son Hartley. He has been on his 
wanderings nearly a month. Derwent has a curacy in 
Cornwall ; report speaks well of his performances in the 



Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, 6th January, 1827. 
My dear Friend, 

. . . You once met, at Southey's, a Mr. Kenyon ; and, 
having met, I think cannot have forgotten him. Oh, no ! 
that you cannot; for it has just come into my recollectioii 
that he dined with us in Gloucester Place in 1820 when 
the wedding cake was cut, — a sort of Christmas feast 
before its time, — when poor Thomas Monkhouse, Charles 
Lamb, my brother, and you made a company of sleepers 
after dinner. Was he, or was he not, there ? When I 
began this notice I surely thought he was ; but my sister, 
who sits beside me, says not, and now I begin to doubt 
Well, this same Mr. Kenyon has written to my sister for 
the family interest, and I will, as the easiest mode of 
explaining, quote from his own letter: "The fact is, I am 
desirous (I will not say anxious, the word would be unduly 
strong) to be a member of the Athenaeum Club, and am 
to be balloted for on Monday the 5th of February. On 
looking over the list of members I see some names of 
your friends, amongst them that of H. C. Robinson, your 
travelling companion, and Allan Cunningham. If these 
gentlemen are likely to be in London at that time, per- 
haps I might be allowed to ask your interest with them 


to give me their votes, and their interest, on this occasion. 
You may venture to represent me as a man who will not 
steal the silver spoons, who does not wear creaking 
shoes, and as a good listener, etc." He adds, " Sir 
Qeorge Beaumont and Rogers, I see, both belong to the 
club ; but these are old men not to be teased to think of 
trifles, or to go out on a February evening." 
• ••••••.•• 

I was happy to hear of Tom Clarkson being in perfect 
health, with increasing business ; and why does not the 
marriage take place ? Thus people wait till " All the life 
of life is gone." 

I have some good tidings for you of my brother. . . . 
Longman has agreed to his terms, and the poems are to 
go to press immediately, and proceed with all possible 

The weather is now as wintry as it can be. Ponds are 
all frozen and thronged with skaters and sliders ; the 
Lakes not yet frozen, strong winds have prevented this. 
My brother is Christmassing at Sedbergh with his son 
John at his (John's) old schoolmaster's. We expect them 
home again on Monday. 

I have to-day received a letter from my nephew John * 
(of Cambridge). He says: "You will be pleased to hear 
that my father is gradually gaining ground, in spite of the 
^troubles and anxieties of his Vice- Chancellorship. The 
improvement in his appearance, however, has not kept pace 
with that of his strength, and any person who should judge 
of him by his looks would not form a just estimate of his 
progress. His face is thin and wrinkled, and he says of 
himself, *I can count all my bones'; but his spirits are 

1 Son of the Master of Trinity. — Ed. 


good, and, I think, his strength fully re-established, and 
he takes great pains to convince himself and others that 
the state of thinness is favourable to health." I suppose 
you know that this good brother of mine was dangerously 
ill in the summer. 

Believe me, ever your affectionate friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

29th January, 1827. 
My dear Friend, 

. . . My poems have, for this month past, been printing 
with the Longmans upon the same terms as agreed upon 
with M. With this latter my dealings have been as fol- 
lows : Rogers, after waiting for a half a year, came to 
the preliminaries of an arrangement, that M. should pub- 
lish for one third of the profits, meeting one third of the 
expense. Upon this I wrote to know what the expense 
would be, and waited a long time, many months, with- 
out getting an answer. I then wrote to M. that, not 
hearing from him, I felt myself at liberty to enter into 
a treaty elsewhere. Accordingly I did so with Hurst, etc. 
Their failing last year stopped this, and something more 
than two months since I wrote to M. offering him the 
work upon the old terms and begging an immediate 
answer, which, I told him, if I did not receive, I should 
regard his silence as evidence that the engagement did 
not suit him. I waited about a month, and receiving no 
answer wrote to Longmans, and then went to press imme- 
diately upon the terms mentioned. 


You see, then, I can have little to say to M. It is 
remarkable that by the same post as brought your letter 
I had one from Colonel Pasley, in which he had occa- 
sion to speak of M.'s inattention as a publisher, and his 
displeasing manners, so that he broke with him; for my 
own part, upon the whole, I am as well pleased that the 
book should be where it is, for M. and I, I am persuaded, 
could never agree. So that you will treat the matter with 
him as you think proper; only it is fit I should say I 
have no wish but to be civil and upon friendly terms with 
him. I have revised the poems carefully, particularly 
The Excursion^ and I trust with considerable improve- 
ment ; but you will judge. 

The deaths you mention among your friends gave me 
much concern. Flaxman's I had heard of through the 
public papers, A. Robinson's not till you named it. 
Thanks for your exertions on behalf of our amiable friend 
Kenyon; we have procured him several votes, and I 
would have got many more, but my parliamentary and 
fashionable friends are almost all out of town. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

29th January, 1827. 
My dear Friend, 

My brother has given me this most elegant epistle of 
his to fold up and finish. I have little to say but to 
confirm his account of poor Dora. My brother's heart 
would be as much fixed as ever upon Italy, were not 
anxiety kept almost constantly alive. It is our decided 
opinion that she ought not to pass the next winter here, 
and all schemes must give way to her benefit. 


My brother wishes his son John's name to be put 
down as a candidate for membership of the University 
Club. He has taken his Bachelor's degree, and is of 
New College. Perhaps you may have in town some Uni- 
versity friend, a member of the club, whom you can 
oblige my brother by asking to do this service. . . . You 
do not mention Charles Lamb and his sister; I trust 
they continue not worse than when he wrote to me a 
most pleasant letter. Miss Lamb was then quite well, 
but he was sadly afflicted with the cramp. The detail 
of his sufferings was mixed with so much drollery that 
it was impossible not to laugh, though we were and are 
heartily sorry that he should have such torments to 
endure. His connection with the British Museum is the 
best thing possible, supplying every need that his with- 
drawing from the India House caused him to feel. Pray 
return him, for all of us, a thousand thanks for his letter, 
with our love to him and his sister. My sister, Miss 
Hutchinson, Dora, and Willy join with me in best wishes. 
Ever your affectionate and much obliged friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

1 8th February, 1827. 
My dear Friend, 

A frank tempts me to slip in our united thanks for 

your zeal in the cause of our friend, Mr. Kenyon. I 

assure you, as the French say, it has not been bestowed 

upon an ingrate, as you will yourself perceive if ever you 

meet him at the club. He will then, I am sure, be glad 


to hold discourse with you, and to tell you how much he 
has been pleased by your kindness and that of others of 
our friends. It does indeed appear that he came in with 
a "high hand." 

My brother is much obliged to you, and to your friend, 
Mr. Rolfe, for getting John's name put on the University 
Club's boards, and will be further obliged if you will 
place him on those of the Athenaeum. It may be useful, 
and can do no harm. 

He is now at Oxford studying divinity, and we hope 
the result will be a steady determination to apply himself 
to the duties of a minister of our church. 

The printing of the poems goes on rapidly. My 
brother inserts your note (I believe without any altera- 
tion), only, perhaps, something may be added to it; and, 
besides, one or two extracts will, I think, be inserted 
from our journals as notes to some other poems. ... A 
heavy snow is now on the ground, and still falling. We 
hope a thaw will follow. Nothing can exceed the purity 
of the scene now before my eyes. How different to you 
in London, if the same snow is falling on the streets and 

The death of Sir George Beaumont is a great affliction 
to us, and was also a severe shock ; for when he was at 
Rydal in the summer, and when I parted from him at 
Coleorton at the end of October, he was in as good health 
and spirits as he has ever been since we first knew him 
twenty-three years ago, and appeared as likely to live for 
eight years to come as any of our younger friends, though 
his seventy-third birthday was on the 6th of November. 
. . . Dear Lady Beaumont has been wonderfully supported 
hitherto, but I fear the worst for her is yet to come, and 
that strength and spirits may wholly fail ; for she is of a 


weak bodily constitution, and after having lived with a 
husband fifty years in perfect harmony, sharing in all 
his pursuits, the change must be dreadful, — and such a 

Sir George Beaumont was buried on Wednesday, just 
a week after his death. His illness was short, I believe 
not more than ten days. Charles and Mary Lamb will, 
I know, sympathise with us. They knew and highly 
valued our inestimable friend. Give our love to them. 

In haste, ever your affectionate 

D. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Basil Montagu 

[Postmark, March 20, 1827.] 
My dear Montagu, 

First I received four volumes of your Lord B)nron, and 
then separately, through the hands of Mr. Strickland 
Cookson, I believe, the fifth. No more have reached me ; 
if the sixth has been sent through the same channel as the 
fifth it ought to be inquired after ; otherwise a set may 
be broken. I had a letter from Mr. S. Cookson about a 
fortnight ago and he made no mention of another volume 
having reached him. 

I have nothing important to observe on your preface. 
It is judicious and written with spirit. The head of 
" Ignorance " as an objection to change is not, I think, 
so well treated as the rest. " Habit " ought to have been 
distinctly stated as giving an undue weight to the reasons 
which may exist for continuing practises for which better 
might be substituted. Weighty must habit be when it 
has anything of reason to aid it, if the poor Italian can 


through its influence alone be so absurd as your story 
represents. Are you aware that the horrid practise of 
wife-sacrifice in India is the result of the policy of the 
polygamist husband to guard his own life from the attacks 
of the malcontents among his numerous wives, by making 
it a point of honour that such sacrifice should take place 
upon his decease ? The natural dread of death gives the 
whole band an interest in prolonging his existence. 

Ever sincerely yours, 

W. W. 

William Wordsworth to J, Fletcher 

Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, 
1 2th April, 1827. 
Dear Sir, 

It was gratifying to be remembered after your long and 
interesting wandering. I shall take care of your obliging 
letter, and if my fortune should ever prove favourable to 
my wishes by allowing me to revisit the Alps, I trust I 
shall profit by some of your notices. I wish you had 
been a little more particular upon the scenery of the 
Apennines about which there is much disagreement of 
opinion. In Alpine Switzerland I think there is a good 
deal of sameness. Switzerland must be taken altogether. 
The Jura, its valleys, and the views of the Alps and the 
intermediate plain from its eminences never can be for- 
gotten; and in thinking of the Alps one should always 
bear in mind both their Helvetian and Italian features, 
otherwise great injustice is done to that region which is 
the pride not only of Europe but of the globe. Fine 
scenery is more widely spread perhaps than you are 


willing to allow ; though not in Europe, yet think of 
the Pyrenees, and many parts of Portugal and Spain. 

Never scarcely was any region so overpraised as " La 
belle France." Its climate is good, but all the interior is 
tame. It has been well compared to a shawl, of which 
the beauty and interest are all in the border. I have 
heard the bold coast and deep inlets of Norway praised 
as the finest things in Europe. Sir Humphry Davy was 
particularly lavish in extolling them. I write in haste. 
Let me beg that if you should be drawn this way, you 
would favour me with your company, when we may talk 
over these things. With warm thanks, 

I remain, dear sir. 

Very sincerely, your obliged 

W. Wordsworth. 


Mary Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

August 28, 1827. 
My dear Friend, 

Having lost sight of you for so long a time, we had 
concluded that you and yours were in progress towards 
the Immortal City, until the letter, received on Sunday, 
proved to us that you are still on this side the channel, 
yet so near that I should not be surprised to hear, at any 
moment, that you had taken flight across. Dover must 
be a tantalizing situation to those whose desires have so 
long dwelt upon foreign travel — to see those steamers 
daily fuming backwards and forwards 1 How can you resist 
them ? Otherwise those ever varying scenes must be a con- 
stant source of amusement and interest, and we think you 


could not have made a better choice, unless indeed you 
had pitched your tent, for a time, among the lakes and 
mountains. But we think you have some prudential con- 
siderations for delaying to introduce Mrs. K. to people of 
our stamp. As far as we are concerned the dreams of 
Italy are passed away, but they may, and I hope will, revive 
again for you. I hope that no untoward event may stand 
in the way of the accomplishment of your wishes next 

From Idle Mount, which just now well supports that 
title, I have nothing but good to communicate ; and to 
begin with the best of good things, let me tell you — which 
I do with a thankful heart — that W.'s eyes are quite well. 
How this good work was wrought you shall hear when 
we meet Dora, whom you so kindly inquire after, is 
no longer an invalid ; she is become as strong as I ever 
remember her to have been, but this happy state is only 
to be depended upon so long as the beautiful weather 
lasts. She is a complete air gage. As soon as damp is 
felt, the trouble in her throat returns; something con- 
nected with the trachea, that causes a cough and other 
inconveniences. To keep this enemy aloof, she is not to 
winter in our weeping climate ; therefore before the next 
rainy season sets in, perhaps in a very few weeks, she 
with myself for her attendant are to quit our pleasant 
home and friends ; but we mean to go to others, and make 
ourselves as joyous as we can. Our first and longest sojourn 
will be with my brother at Brinsop Court, near Hereford. 
(Had we met you in the Cathedral, or wandering upon the 
Wye, how lucky we should have thought ourselves !) We 
shall visit Mrs. Gee near Bristol, and, had you not so 
rashly given up your home at Bath, we should not 
have been so near without partaking for a few days of 


your and Mrs. Kenyon's hospitality. You will say, what 
is to become of Mr. W. all this time ? This thought I do 
not encourage, except when we plan a scheme for meeting 
at Coleorton, or for his joining us in Herefordshire. We 
are looking for Miss Wordsworth's return home, after a 
two months' absence, towards the end of the week. She 
will be stationed throughout the winter at R. M., as will 
also, I believe, my sister Sarah, John, and Willy. Willy 
has grown, as you suspect, amazingly, though he has not yet 
reached his father's height. John intends to take orders 
as soon as he can meet with a curacy. Should you hear 
of any vacancy in a good neighbourhood, where the duty 
is not too heavy for a novice to undertake, you perhaps 
will be kind enough to let him know, and you might also 
say a good word for him. 

My sister Sarah, Dora, and Mr. Quillinan — who has 
been our guest for the last few days — have ridden over 
to Keswick this morning. Southey's family are all well 
I, together with Dora, spent a week very pleasantly with 
them since the commencement of the present month, and 
we also had a picnic meeting under Raven Crag by the 
margin of Wytheburn; the families of Greta Hall and 
Rydal Mount, with other vagrants, making a party of 
about thirty. A merry group we formed, round a gypsy 
fire upon the rocky point that juts from the shore, on the 
opposite side of the lake from the high road. 

Dr. Wordsworth's three distinguished sons ^ are now at 
Bowness, reading with several other students and their 
tutor. Except after the business of the week is over, on 
the Saturdays and Sundays, we see nothing of them. They 

1 Christopher, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln ; John, referred to 
at p. 460; and Charles, afterwards Bishop of St. Andrews. — Ed 


are delightful youths, and have learnt — or rather time 
has taught them — to enjoy this country, which they 
thought little of when they were last in it, the summer 
you were here I think. Tillbrook made but a short stay, 
and was very unlucky, having imprudently taken too long 
a walk, to show the view into Langdale to a young friend, 
and fatigued himself so much as obliged him almost to keep 
to his sofa during the remainder of his stay. He was only 
twice up the hill. 

The Bishop of Chester and his lady took possession of 
Ivy Cot about three weeks since, and mean to make it their 
headquarters until October. The bishop is a delightful 
companion, and is indefatigable in the duties of his high 
office. He preaches every Sunday, often twice, in some 
or other of the neighbouring churches, — a grand feast 
for us, who are so often doomed to feed on such a slender 
meal as our Westmorland divines lay before us. Mrs. 
Blomfield, too, is a pleasant agreeable person, but they are 
so much engaged among the grandees of the neighbour- 
hood that we do not see much of them ; besides, she is 
delicate, and the " Hall bank " is too much for her. 

The house at the foot of the hill is at present empty 
but Fox Ghyll, beautified by Mrs. Luff, is a delight- 
ful residence. Spring Cottage, the second house under 
Loughrigg upon the river, is occupied by two maiden 
ladies, who are admirers of scenery^ and understand the 
ologies. In the latter we do not participate. The sciences 
do not flourish at Idle Mount. Thus you see that if the 
travellers did not steal our industrious propensities from 
us, our neighbours would. 

Here you must refer to the numerals for directions how 
to proceed, for, till I had written to the end of the third 
page, I did not discover I had turned over two sheets. 


after reaching the bottom of the first ; and to this blunder 
you owe this long letter, for I should not have ventured 
beyond a single sheet, although I can command a frank. 
With best regards to Mrs. K. and kindest remembrances 
from all, believe me to be, 

Very sincerely yours, 

M. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

Rydal Mount, near Kendal, 
September 24, 1827. 

You will have no pain to suffer from my sincerity. 
With a safe conscience I can assure you that, in my judg- 
ment, your verses are animated with true poetic spirit, as 
they are evidently the product of strong feeling. The 
sixth and seventh stanzas affected me much, even to the 
dimming of my eye, and faltering of my voice while I was 
reading them aloud. . . . You will not, I am sure, be 
hurt, when I tell you that the workmanship is not what it 
ought to be. 

Some touch of human S3anpathy find way. 

And whisper that while Truth's and Science' ray 

With such serene effulgence o'er thee shone — 

Sympathy might whisper, but a touch of sympathy could 
not. " Truth's and Science' ray," for the ray of Truth and 
Science, is not only extremely harsh, but a " ray shone " is, 
if not absolutely a pleonasm, a great awkwardness ; a " ray 
may be said to fall or * shoot ' " ; and a sun, or a moon, or a 
candle to shine, but not a ray. I much regret that I did 


not receive these verses while you were here ; that I might 
have given you viva voce a comment upon them which 
would be tedious by letter, and, after all, very imperfect. 
If I have the pleasure of seeing you again, I will beg per- 
mission to dissect these verses, or any other you may be 
inclined to show me ; but I am certain that, without con- 
ference with me, or any benefit drawn from my practise 
in metrical composition, your own high powers of mind 
will lead you to the main conclusions ; you will be brought 
to acknowledge that the logical faculty has infinitely more 
to do with poetry than the young and the inexperienced, 
whether writer or critic, ever dreams of. Indeed, as the 
materials upon which that faculty is exercised in poetry 
are so subtle, so plastic, so complex, the application of it 
requires an adroitness which can proceed from nothing 
but practise ; a discernment, which emotion is so far from 
bestowing that at first it is ever in the way of it. . . . 
Here I must stop; only let me advert to two lines : 

But shall despondence therefore blench my brow^ 
Or pining sorrow sickly ardour o'er. 

These are two of the worst lines in mere expression. 
** Blench" is perhaps miswritten for "blanch"; if not, I 
don't understand the word. Blench signifies to flinch. 
If " blanch " be the word, the next ought to be " hair'^ 
You can't here use brow for the hair upon it, because a 
white brow or forehead is a beautiful characteristic of 
youth. " Sickly ardour o'er " was at first reading to me 
unintelligible. I took " sickly " to be an adjective joined 
with ** ardour," whereas you mean it as a portion of a verb, 
from Shakespeare, " Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of 
thought." But the separation of the parts or decomposi- 
tion of the word, as here done, is not to be endured. 


Let me now come to your sister's verses, for which I 
thank you. They are surprisingly vigorous for a female 
pen, but occasionally too rugged, and especially for such 
a subject ; they have also the same fault in expression as 
your own, but not I think in quite an equal degree. 
Much is to be hoped from feelings so strong, and from a 
mind thus disposed. I should have entered into particu- 
lars with these also, had I seen you after they came into 
my hands. Your sister is, no doubt, aware that in her 
poem she has trodden the same ground as Gray, in his 
Ode upon a Distant Prospect of Eton College, What he 
has been contented to treat in the abstract she has repre- 
sented in particulars, and with admirable spirit. Again, 
my dear sir, let me exhort you (and do you exhort your 
sister) to deal little with modem writers, but fix your atten- 
tion almost exclusively upon those who have stood the test 
of time. You especially have not leisure to allow of your 
being tempted to turn aside from the right course by 
deceitful lights. . . . 

W. W. 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 


Perhaps the fate of the bill^ is already decided, or will 
be so, before this reaches your hands. I cannot forbear, 
however, writing once more upon a subject which is 
scarcely ever out of my thoughts. I see that a writer in 
the Quarterly Review is most decidedly against the bill 
going into committee: he appears convinced, as thou- 
sands are, that no good would arise from it, and that the 

1 The Reform BUI. — Ed. 


destruction of the Constitution must follow ; adding that 
if the Lords resist they will at least fall with honour. In 
this I perfectly concur with him. . . . Residing at a dis- 
tance from town, I can form no distinct notion of the 
mischief which might immediately arise, with an execu- 
tive such as now afflicts this kingdom. But I do con- 
fidently affirm that there are materials for constructing 
a party which, if the bill be not passed, might save the 
country. I have numerous acquaintances among men 
who have all their lives been more or less of Reformers, 
but not one, unfastened by party engagements, who does 
not strongly condemn this bill. 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

November 29, 1827. 

. . . The nation will now know what Lord Grey 
meant by his expression, "a measure equally efficient." 
If he meant efficient for a change as great, as sudden, 
and upon the same principles of spoliation and disfran- 
chisement in the outset as the former bill — and the new 
constituency to be supplied by its coarse and clumsy con- 
trivances, not to speak of the party injustice of their 
application — then it must be obvious to all honest men 
of sound judgment that nothing can prevent a subversion 
of the existing government by King, Lords, and Com- 
mons, and the violation of the present order of society in 
this country. Such at least is the deliberate opinion of 
all those friends whose judgment I am accustomed to 
look up to. One of the ablest things I have read upon 


the character and tendency of the Reform Bill is in the 
North American Review of four or five months back. 
The author lays it down — and I think gives irrefragable 
reasons for his opinion — that the numerical principle 
adopted, and that of property also, can find no root but 
in universal suffrage. Being a Republican, and a pro- 
fessed hater and despiser of our modified feudal institu- 
tions, he rejoices over the prospect, and his views, though 
in some points mistaken, for want of sufficient knowledge 
of £nglish society, are entitled to universal consideration. 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

. . . The altered bill does little or nothing to prevent 
the dangers of the former. . . . The mischief already 
done can never be repaired. The scheme of regulating 
representation by arbitrary lines of property or numbers 
is impracticable ; such distinctions will melt away before 
the inflamed passions of the people. No government 
will prove sufficiently strong to maintain them, till the 
novelty which excites a thirst for further change shall 
be worn off, and the new constituency have a chance of 
acquiring by experience the habits of a temperate use 
of their powers. A preponderance so large being given 
to ten-pound renters, the interest and property of the large 
towns where they are to vote will not be represented, 
much less that of the community at large ; for these ten- 
pound renters are mainly men without substance, and 
live, as has been said, from hand to mouth. Then will 
follow frequent Parliaments — triennial perhaps at first — 
which will convert the representatives into mere slavish 


delegates, as they now are in America, under the dictation 
of ignorant and selfish numbers, misled by unprincipled 
journalists, who, as in France, will — no few of them — find 
their way into the House of Commons, and so the last 
traces of a deliberative assembly will vanish. But enough 
of this melancholy topic. I resided fifteen months in 
France, during the heat of the Revolution, and have 
some personal experience of the course which these move- 
ments must take, if not fearlessly resisted, before the 
transfer of legislative power takes place. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Christopher Wordsworth 

[Trinity College, Cambridge.] 
My dear Brother, 

... I have a proposal to make. We quit this place 
Saturday week, meaning to stop two days at Birmingham, 
two at Worcester with Miss Wills, Lady B.'s cousin, and 
one at Malvern if the snow be not on the ground. Our 
earnest wish is, that you should join us at Brinsop Court, 
Mr. Hutchinson's, about six miles from Hereford, where 
I will meet you with ^ gig. My stay will be prolonged in 
that country sufficiently to allow of our passing a week 
together, divided between Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. 
Monkhouse, who lives at no distance from him on the 
banks of the Wye. You would have a saddle horse or a 
gig at command, while in that part of the country. . . . 

Most affectionately yours, 

W. W. 


To this letter Wordsworth wrote a postscript to his 
nephew Christopher, in which the following occurs : 
My dear Chris., 

... As to the Virgil,^ I have no objection to its being 
printed if two or three good judges would previously take 
the trouble of looking it over, and they should think it 
worth while. Could Mr. Hare find time for that pur- 
pose, he or any others ? On the other side I have given 
you a few corrections, and shall be glad of any of yours, 
or those of anybody else. . . . 

Most affectionately your uncle, 

W. Wordsworth. 

The following is crossed over the page. 

This way and that the ] ® [• are inclined, 

Split into parties by the fickle mind. 
Where hast thou tarried, Hector? from what coast 
Com'st thou long-wished for ? After thousands lost, 
Thy kindred and thy friends such travail borne 
By all that breathe in Troy, how tired and worn 
We who behold thee ! But why thus return ? 
These gashes whence? This undeserved disgrace! 
Who first defiled that calm majestic face? 
My heart misgave me not, nor did mine eye 
Look back till we had reached the boundary 
Of ancient Ares. 

Have the goodness to insert the above correction in 
your copy, if not for preference at least for choice. 

W. W. 

1 Evidently his translation of part of the first book of the yEfuid, 
for which see Poetical Works^ Vol. VIII, p. 276. It was published 
in the Philological Museum in 1836. The passage quoted below does 
not occur in what is printed in the Poetical Works and the Philo- 
logical Museum, — £d. 




William Wordsworth to Mary^ and Dora Wordsworth 

Thursday, [1828.] 
Dearest M. and D., 

From what I learn Mrs. Gee is left in such narrow cir- 
cumstances that on that account alone it will be better 
not to stay more than three weeks with her at Hendon.* 

I could wish to assist Mrs. Gee, tell her, in disposing 
of her portion of the Langdale estate, but you are aware 
that no complete title can be made to it till little Mary 
M. is of age, so that I fear it will be almost an insurmount- 
able objection. I will try. I shall be hurt if you do not 
so contrive as to spend at least a month at Cambridge with 
Dr. W.^ It is not necessary that I should be there to meet 
you. I will follow as soon as I can. . . . John arrived 
the day before yesterday, looking well and apparently 
in good spirits. Bills to the amount of upwards of ;£'6o, 
including the one paid by Mr. Jackson, have been sent 
for battles, etc. 

This was my main inducement for closing with Mr. 
Reynold's offer for The Keepsake} I have already written 

1 Mrs. Gee had a girls* school at Hendon, which Dora Words- 
worth had attended. — Ed. 

2 The Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, the poet's brother. 
— Ed. 

' Wordsworth sent to The Keepsake four poems, viz., The Triads 
The Wishing-Gate^ Miserrimusy and The Gleaner, — Ed. 


all that will be necessary to fulfill my engagement, but I 
wish to write a small narrative poem by way of variety, 
in which case I shall defer something of what is already 
written till another year, if we agree. 

I have written one little piece, thirty-four lines, on the 
picture of a beautiful peasant-girl bearing a sheaf of 
com.* The person I had in my mind lives near the 
Blue Bell, Fillingham — a sweet creature ; we saw her 
going to Hereford. 

Another piece, eighty-two lines, same stanza as Ruth^ 
is entitled The Wishing-Gate at Grastnere? Both have, 
I think, merit. . . . 

William continues in good spirits and sufficiently indus- 
trious. . . . 

I will add for Dora a few additional lines for The 
Promise^ that is the title of the poem. After "Where 
grandeur is unknown," add — 

What living man would fear 

The worst of Fortune's malice, wert thou near. 

Humbling that lily-branch, thy sceptre meek. 

To brush from off his cheek 

The too, too happy tear ? 

Queen and handmaid lowly ! etc. 

Before "Next to these shades a Nymph," etc., read 

this : 

Like notes of birds that after showers 

In April concert try their powers, 

And with a tumult and a rout 

Of warbling, force coy Phoebus out ; 

1 The original title was The Gleaner (suggested by a ptcture),—^ 

2 The title, alike in The Keepsake and in the Poems of 1832, was 
simply The Wishing-Gate. — Ed. 

« The original title of The Triad, ^^d. 



Or bid some dark cloud's bosom show 

That form divine, the many coloured bow, 

E'en so the thrillings of the Ijrre 

Prevail to further our desire, 

While to these shades a nymph I call, 

The youngest of the lovely three : 

With glowing cheek from pastimes virginal 

Behold her hastening to the tents 

Of nature, and the lonely elements 1 

And, as if wishful to disarm 

Or to repay the tuneful charm. 

She bears the stringed lute of old Romance, etc. 

"With the happy rose en wreathed," on account of 
'happy tear" above, read "With Idalian rose." 
cad thus : 

Only ministers to quicken 
Sallies of instinctive wit ; 
Unchecked in laughter-loving gaiety, 
In all the motions of her spirit, free. 

irewell, dearest loves. I have shown the above addi- 
> to nobody, even in this house ; so I shall shut up 
etter that neither it nor they may be read. Love to 
t both houses. Again farewell. 

Your affectionate husband and father, 

W. W. 

Sunday Morning, 9 o'clock, 
iearest Dora, 

am looking for Mr. Quillinan every moment. I hope 
vive the conversation of yesterday. 
[le sum is: I make no opposition to this marriage, 
ve no resentment connected with it toward any one; 


you know how much friendship I have always felt towards 
Mr. Q.y and how much I respect him. I do not doubt 
the strength of his love and affection towards you ; this, 
as far as I am concerned, is the fair side of the case. 

On the other hand, I cannot think of parting with you 
with that complacency, that satisfaction, that hopefulness 
which I could wish to feel ; there is too much of neces- 
sity in the case for my wishes. But I must submit, and 
do submit ; and God Almighty bless you, my dear child, 
and him who is the object of your long and long-tried 
preference and choice. 

Ever your affectionate father, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 



Your letter to me just received. Thanks ; I will write 
from Brinsop. W. W. 

My dear Daughter, 

The letter which you must have received from William 
has placed before you my judgment and feelings; how 
far you are reconciled to them I am unable to divine. I 
have only to add that I believe Mr. Q. to be a most hon- 
ourable and upright man, and further, that he is most 
strongly and faithfully attached to you ; this I must sol- 
emnly declare in justice to you both ; and to this I add 
my blessing upon you and him; more I cannot do, and if 
this does not content you with what your brother has 
said, we must all abide by God's decision upon our 
respective fates. Mr. Q. is, I trust, aware how slender 
my means are. The state of William's health will undoubt- 
edly entail upon us considerable expense, and how John 


is to get on without our aid I cannot foresee. No more 
at present, my time is out ; I am going to join Miss Fen- 
wick at Miss Pollard's. 

Ever your most tender-hearted and affectionate father, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

In a beautiful churchyard near Bath I saw, the other 
day, this inscription : 

Thomas Carrol, Esq., 
Barrister at Law 
Bom — so, died — so. 

Rest in peace, dear Father. 

There was not another word. 


William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Brinsop Court, near Hereford, 
January 9th, 1828. 
My dear Sir, 

Has my friend Mr. Quillinan lately ordered a copy of 
my bust from you ? If not, be so good as to have one 
Cast for him, which I will pay for ; he having left the one 
he possessed in Westmoreland for a connection of mine. 
I shall also want a bust for one of my nephews, who has 
lately distinguished himself at Oxford, and has just been 
elected a student of Christ Church — where he has rooms 
as long as he chooses to remain unmarried. When my 
other two nephews who are now of Cambridge are likely 
to be as far settled as their brother, I shall want a bust 
for each of them. In the meanwhile be so kind as to have 
one executed as carefully as you can for Mr. Quillinan, 
who will be directed to call upon you ; and let the other 


be sent to Charles Wordsworth, Esq., Christ Church, Ox- 
ford. I shall be in Town in spring, when I will take care 
to discharge my debt for these busts ; and will also take 
such steps as may ensure the payment of the one which, 
at Mr. Coleridge's request, — I mean Mr. Edward Cole- 
ridge of Eaton, — I begged might be cast for him, and 
which was accordingly sent to him at that place by you ; 
but perhaps he has himself discharged the debt. 

In the letter I had the pleasure of receiving from you 
some time ago, you recur to the scheme of a selection 
from my poems for circulation among the Scotch peas- 
antry. When we meet I will talk this over with you, and 
we will discuss its practicability. I should myself be 
wholly at a loss what pieces to fix upon for such persons. 
I am happy to see that your pen continues busy, but 
scarcely any new books find their way to me in West- 
moreland. I am at present on a visit to a brother-in-law, 
with whom my wife and daughter are residing for the 
winter. . . . 

Believe me, my dear sir. 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to John Taylor 

Rydal Mount, Jan. 30, 1828. 
My dear Sir, 

... I have also to thank you for an exhortation urging 
me to pay a tribute to the memory of our departed friend, 
Sir G. Beaumont. Be assured I feel strongly on the sub- 
ject; but even from that very cause one often shrinks 
from what might prove an unworthy attempt. . . . 




William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Rydal Mount, February 26, 1828. 
My dear Sir, 

You are too late in your application. I have been dis- 
agreeably circumstanced in respect to these publications. 
One of my friends, the conductor of a public journal, 
applied to me some time ago for contributions. I refused 
on the ground that I had never been engaged on any 
periodical, nor meant to be. A gentleman whom I have 
not the honour of knowing, but to whom I am under con- 
siderable obligations, is editor of one of these annuals, 
and had a claim upon me, though he did not ask for a 
contribution, nor did I contribute, for the same general 
reason. I have since had applications, I believe, from 
nearly every editor, but complied with none. I have, 
however, been smuggled into the Winter's Wreath^ to 
which I contributed three years ago, it being then 
intended as a solitary publication for charitable purposes. 
(The two pieces of mine which appeared there had some 
months before been published by myself in the last 
edition of the poems.) This having broken the ice, I 
had less reluctance to close with a proposal the other day 
made me by Mr. Reynolds, the terms of which were too 
liberal to be easily resisted. . . . Mr. Sharp is entitled 
to the gratitude of the poets of England for the elegant, 
and above all — for what I am told is the case — the very 
correct editions published by him. 

Believe me, my dear sir. 

Very faithfully, your much obliged friend, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 



William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Rydal Mount, March 7th, 1828. 
My dear Friend, 

I am sorry to find you rate my assistance so high. It 
would give me great pleasure to meet your wishes, but 
I see little hope of it at present, even if the terms on 
which alone I should feel myself at liberty to contribute 
could be acceded to by you. Much as I should value 
the bronze bust, it is a mode of remuneration too indefi- 
nite for my present engagement. Considering the sums 
offered by Mr. Heath to literary men, I think it might 
be imprudent to enter into competition with him as far 
as authorship goes ; unless the proprietor (or proprietors) 
of your work be prepared to enter upon it with a capital 
that would allow a heavy expenditure for this branch 
only, though with the embellishment comparatively insig- 

I speak to you as editor alone. The proprietors of some 
of these works have made large sums by them, and it 
is reasonable that the writers should be paid in some 

For my own part I acknowledge that a wish to gratify 
you, and I feel it very strongly, comes and must come 
second upon an occasion like this. It is a matter of 
trade. All my natural feelings are against appearing 
before the public in this way. Having spoken thus 
frankly, I dismiss the subject. ... . 

Ever faithfully yours, \ 

Wm, Wordsworth, 


Steel engraving has given birth to these publications, 
and the immense number of impressions of the plates 
which it allows must be the support of those that suc- 
ceed. It is therefore politic not to starve the authorship, 
which after all forms but a small part of the expense. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to William Pearson 

Rydal Mount, Thursday, September 25th, [1828.] 

My dear Sir, 

I was very sorry to find you had not seen my brother 
at Mr. Tilbrook's when you were last here, and that you 
were gone when I inquired for you. It was indeed very 
unlucky that you should have come at a time when so 
many strangers were gathered together at Rydal Mount. 

I now write for two reasons. In the first place, to say 
I hope to ascend Helvellyn with you before my depar- 
ture to Whitwick, and in the second, to request that you 
will bring with you my Scotch Tour when you come — 
if you have not an opportunity of sending it before, by 
some individual whom you can depiend upon, for leaving 
it at Rydal Mount — who will give it into the hands of 
one of our servants, or other person of the family, to be 
delivered to Miss Wordsworth, Sr. 

We are at present in want of the Journal^ but (it not 
being here) there is no need that you should trouble 
yourself to send it purposely. A week or two now will 
make no difference. 

Next week we expect company. But after that time 
my brother and I will be at perfect liberty to climb Hel- 
vellyn with you any fine morning when you may happen 


to arrive. Come by half-past eight o'clock, and if on a 
Keswick-coach day, so much the better, as we could go 
on the coach to Dunmail Raise. Mondays, Wednesdays, 
and Fridays are the days on which the coach goes to 

I shall depart towards Leicestershire about the first 
week in November, therefore the sooner you come the 
better, after next week. 

With kind respects from all the family, and my brother 
especially, who much regretted he did not see you, 

I remain. 

Yours truly, 

D. Wordsworth, Sr. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to William Pearson 

Rydal Mount, Tuesday, 9th October, [1828.] 

My dear Sir, 

The weather seems now to be clearing up ; but I am 
sorry to say we cannot ascend Helvellyn this week on 
account of engagements; and next week also we are 
engaged for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday ; but should 
Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday prove fine, we should 
be glad to accompany you on any one of those days, for 
we give up the coach scheme, and intend to take the pony 
chaise as far as the Nag's Head.^ 

I am, dear sir. 

Yours respectfully, 

D. Wordsworth. 

1 The inn at Wythebum. — Ed. 




William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Nov. nth, [1828.] 
My dear Friend, 

I send back your preface with two or three verbal 
alterations ; there is no need of Mr. Southey's assistance. 
It will do as it is. I wish the Selection^ may answer 
the purpose — for myself I can form no conjecture. I 
congratulate you on the success of your Annual, I am 
engaged on the same terms for The Keepsake^ and am not 
quite easy under the engagement, as I have not written 
a line, nor am I in possession of one which would answer 
their purpose ; so that I really could not promise a con- 
tribution to any other work of the kind, were the pub- 
lishers prepared to pay me at the rate which I am at 
liberty to accept. I regret this both on your account, 
and for Mr. Alaric Watts, whom I wished to serve. I 
send you back your own letter, thinking it may save 
you some trouble of transcription. I see that Simon 
Lee is down on your list. I could wish that piece to 
be slightly altered thus. The second stanza to stand as 
the fourth, thus altered. 

But oh the heavy change ! bereft 

Of strength of friends and kindred, see 

The next stanza to begin thus : 
And he is lean. 

^ This must refer to a projected volume of Selections which was 
never issued. — Ed. 


... Is the bust ^ sent off to Mr. Charles Wordsworth, 
Christ Church, Oxon? Do you know the address of 
Mr. James Wilson of Edinburgh, brother to the pro- 
fessor ? He wishes one to be sent to him to Edinburgh 
by sea. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, 28th November. 
My dear Friend, 

Welcome to England, and thanks for your interesting 
letter which will be carefully preserved with its prede- 
cessors of the same class in my sister's possession. 
Your account of the Pyrenean valleys falls in pretty much 
with my own expectation. I never heard of but one per- 
son, Walter Savage Landor, who preferred the Pyrenees 
to the Alps. Have you read Raymond's account of the 
former? It is well worth looking over, more for the 
beauty of particular passages, than for its general interest 
or its merit (as far as I am able to judge) as an acquisi- 
tion to geology. It is, however, on this account that the 
author seems to pride himself. His translation of Coxe, 
I think, I recommended to you before. I am now about 
to consult you on my son William's present destination; 
and to come to the point at once I want to place him in 
some establishment on the Continent, or rather make 
some family arrangement with a Protestant clergyman 
who has two or three pupils, not less than sixteen or 
seventeen years of age — though perhaps that might not 
be of consequence — where he might continue his classical 

I The bust by Chantry. — Ed. 



studies as preparatory to one of our Universities, and at 
the same time learn German and French or both, with a 
little desk-diligence, but mainly by conversation. It is 
possible that through my friends of the Lowther family I 
may be able in course of time to get him into a govern- 
ment office. They have been spoken to on the subject; 
but should that hope fail, he must face one of our Uni- 
versities as his only resource. I will not tire you with 
further particulars, as I fancy you know a little of his 
history, — his strong bent to the army, etc. He is turned 

Pray come and see us. I remember a man who got a 
prize in the lottery for which he was heartily sorry : he 
was so pestered by distressed persons and their patrons 
with begging petitions. You are now rich in leisure, and 
will be exposed to as many demands upon your time as 
this unfortunate was upon his money. We of this house- 
hold are likely to be among the number of these appli- 
cants, and our first demand — a pretty lusty one it is — 
is that you would put yourself upon the top of a coach, ad- 
vanced as the season is, and brighten our fireside. We 
are not dull, however, I assure you ; and pretty busy in 
our little way, of which our proof is that last week I threw 
oS three hundred and sixty verses at a heat. I should 
like to tell you something about our Rhine trip, though 
you do not ask, so I will put it off, the more so because 
you will hear of it from Mr. Aders ; to whom, by-the-bye, 
we are in debt for a thousand kindnesses and for one 
small sum of money. He paid for our passport, and on 
settling accounts I forgot to reimburse him. This I have 
mentioned to Coleridge, but it may slip his memory. 
Therefore if you do not learn that C. has discharged the 
debt, pray do it for me with my kindest regards, and tell 


us in your next how Mrs. Aders is. Mr. Quillinan has the 
power to remit the amount of our debt to you. There- 
fore get of him the deficit at your leisure. We had yes- 
terday a delightful letter from my sister, who is with her 
nephew at Whitwick, between Loughborough and Ashby- 
de-la-Zouch. She speaks with high delight of her journey 
from Buxton down Darleydale (i.e. through Matlock) to 
Derby and Nottingham. . . . 

Most faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Whitwick, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 
November 30th, 1828. 
My dear Friend, 

I will not say that I like a letter the worse for being 
franked, but I should have been very angry with you 
(could I have known of my loss) had you kept yours 
back, as you threatened to do, in case of not meeting 
with a franker ; so, once for all, let me assure you that 
the sight of your handwriting is always welcome to me 
at whatever cost, and, at the same time, I beg that when- 
ever you have the inclination to take the pen — whether 
you have anything new to tell me or not — you will favour 
me with a letter of chit-chat, or whatever may come 
into your head. You are now a man of leisure, therefore 
I make no scruple in asking this of you. You can hardly 
form a notion of the pleasure it will be to me during the 
coming lonely winter to receive tidings of distant friends, 
— lonely I mean in comparison with past years, for my 


nephew John is my constant companion, and we are very 
comfortable and happy together. To be sure I have only 
had a fortnight's trial, but I think I have already seen 
enough of Whitwick fireside to be justified in my belief 
that time will not hang heavy on our hands ; yet never 
was there a place, though it is a crowded village, more 
barren of society, except at the distance of three miles, 
where our rector and his family and Lady Beaumont are 
always glad to see us, and a visit to them makes a pleas- 
ant termination of a walk not longer than we take daily. 

You will, I am sure, be glad to hear that John enters 
with great zeal into the duties of his profession, and 
gives much satisfaction both to the parish and his rector. 
He has a fine voice, reads agreeably (according to my 
notion at least), and is much liked in the pulpit by his 
hearers ; they have been accustomed to a spiritless hum- 
drum curate. I, however, do not find John so much at 
home in preaching as in reading ; but time will give him 
more confidence, and he is so desirous of doing his duty 
that I cannot doubt, if God grant him health and strength, 
of his becoming an effective preacher. 

I know not into what quarter your English travels may 
lead you this winter, or in the spring, but we are only a few 
miles out of the great North Road — thirteen miles from 
Leicester, eight from Loughborough, five from Ashby-de- 
la-Zouch. By-the-bye, in future direct to me at Whit- 
wick, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch ; it is our regular post town, 
and we only get letters from Leicester by chance. This 
evening post has brought pleasant tidings from Rydal ; 
all well, and my brother busy with poetical labours, and 
(what nearly concerns John and me) Mr. Quillinan has 
thoughts of paying a visit to Derbyshire with his eldest 
daughter, and if so will come to see us. This is what 


he tells my sister, and I heartily wish he may put the 
scheme into execution. Pray, if you see him, tell him so. 
Indeed I must not trust to chance; if you do not see 
him, be so good as to write him a line by the twopenny 
post to the above effect, and desire him, if he comes, to 
write a line to say if possible when we may expect him, 
and to direct near Ashby, etc. 

With respect to the ;^io, I find my brother has pro- 
vided for payment of his debt to you, therefore be so 
good as to keep that sum a little while longer. John is 
ordering books to about that amount, and when he has 
received them I shall trouble you to pay it to the book- 
seller. Am I unreasonable in wishing to have your 
sketch of the Pyrenean tour filled up with your actual 
adventures ? I fear I am, for I have no claim for such 
a favour, having not once written to thank you for the 
last addition to my little collection of your tours. I will 
not trouble you with explanations — excuse I have none 
— but, believe me, I was not less interested by the last 
than heretofore, and that I do greatly prize, and always 
shall prize, these proofs of your kindness. 

Alas for Rome I I never expect to set foot upon that 
sacred ground, nor do I ever visit it even in a day-dream. 
But once again I do hope to see Switzerland if we all 
live a few years longer, and perhaps the country of the 
Tyrolese. Indeed, when my brother talks of Rome it 
always rather damps my hopes of even crossing the chan- 
nel again, so many circumstances must concur to make 
so large a scheme practicable, and years slip away. On 
the 25th of next month (Xmas Day) I, the youngest of 
the three elders of the house, shall have completed my 
fifty-sixth year. I intend to stay at Whitwick six months 
without stirring from the spot, i.e. till May. My plans, 


after that time, are not fixed ; but certainly before I turn 
northward I shall visit my brother C. at Cambridge, and 
perhaps a friend at Worcester ; and, if so, shall work on 
to Brinsop, where Miss Hutchinson now is, so that it is 
probable I shall not return to Rydal till July ; but, as I 
said, nothing is fixed but six months at Whitwick, and 
feeling that I am so much of a comfort to John here, and 
being also myself very comfortable, I shall not find it easy 
to resist coming to him again next winter. This brings 
me to the wish that he had a good living, and a good 
wife, both which blessings I hope he will deserve. I 
wish you had seen Charles and Mary Lamb when you 
wrote. Pray give my kindest remembrances to them. 
I ask them not for a letter, but trust that you will write 
ere long and tell me all about them ; also the Clarksons, 
it is very long since I had any tidings of them. . . . 

Believe me, my dear friend, 

Your much obliged and affectionate 

D. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Benjamin Dockray 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 2d, 1828. 
Dear Sir, 

The papers to which you kindly direct my attention 
are written in that spirit which the question eminently 
requires ; but as I have not seen the article in the Quar- 
terly which called them forth, I am less able to judge 
how far they meet the arguments advanced. I shall there- 
fore not comment upon any particular passages in your 
letter, though some things which you have said upon the 


Church of England, and the relation in which its members 
stand to it, do not seem to me to be borne out by the fact 
My own conclusions upon the general question differ from 
yours, because, without considering whether in religious 
matters, or matters so intimately connected with religion as 
this, the Romanists are bindable by oath or not, I appre- 
hend that they are not prepared to give securities at all, 
or to submit to such regulations as would leave an attached 
member of the Church of England at ease. 

The subject has great difficulties on every side. The 
strongest argument in my mind against concession is the 
danger, not to say the absurdity, of allowing Catholics 
to legislate for the property of a Protestant Church. 
This property is most inadequately represented in Parlia- 
ment, scarcely at all, the clergy being excluded from the 
Lower House, and the bishops dependent, in the degree 
they are, upon the minister. Now we all know that the 
Romanists consider this property as having formerly 
belonged to them ; and many, to my certain knowledge 
(however extravagant the expectation may seem as to 
the Church pf England), look to the recovery of it. The 
legal maxim nullum iempus occurrit Regi has on the 
minds of the zealots of this body its parallel in respect 
to their church. Catholics have sat in Parliament we 
know well without directing a battery against the property 
of the Protestant church ; they have, I believe, even been 
its defenders ; but that was at a time when Episcopacy 
and the rights and property of the Church were assailed 
by fanatics, endeavouring to subvert everything. No 
inference can be drawn from the conduct of Papists when 
that hostility was going forward, in favour of their absti- 
nence from attack in the present day. I point your 
attention to this part of the subject^ from the interest I take 


in it, not merely as a conscientious member of our Church 
but from a firm belief that in a secular view only it is 
eminently beneficial that so much property should be 
held by that kind of tenure, circulating from individual 
to individual and from family to family, without being 
locked up and confined to particular persons and families. 
This part of the argument deserves to be enlarged upon, 
and is capable of being most forcibly put ; but I have 
not time to do it. 

I own I do not see much force in what is said of the 
oppressiveness and injustice of exclusion from Parliament, 
when we consider what large bodies of men are excluded 
— the whole of the clergy from the Lower House, and 
every man who has not ;^3oo real estate per annum ; 
besides other large classes. Then again as to the stigma, 
unless you are prepared to open the Throne itself to 
Catholics, and overturn the provision of the Revolution 
of 1688, that still must cleave to their name and faith. 
But I must conclude. Believe me, dear sir, in haste. 

Very respectfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Hugh James Rose 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 11, 1828- 
My dear Sir, 

I have read your excellent sermons delivered before the 
University* several times. In nothing were my notions 
different from yours as there expressed. It happened 

1 On the Commission and Consequent Duties of the Clergy^ preached 
before the University of Cambridge, in April, 1826, and published 
in 1828. — Ed. 


that I had been reading just before Bishop Bull's sermon/ 
of which you speak so highly ; it had struck me just in 
the same way as an inestimable production. I was highly 
gratified by your discourses, and cannot but think that 
they must have been beneficial to the hearers, there 
abounds in them so pure a fervour. I have as yet 
bestowed less attention upon your German controversy* 
than so important a subject deserves. 

Since our conversation upon the subject of education, 
I have found no reason to alter the opinions I then 
expressed. Of those who seem to me to be in error, two 
parties are especially prominent ; they — the most conspic- 
uous head of whom is Mr. Brougham — who think that 
sharpening of intellect and attainment of knowledge are 
things good in themselves, without reference to the cir- 
cumstances under which the intellect is sharpened, or to 
the quality of the knowledge acquired. "Knowledge," 
says Lord Bacon, " is power," but surely not less for evil 
than for good. Lord Bacon spoke like a philosopher ; 
but they who have that maxim in their mouths the 
oftenest have the least understanding of it. 

The other class consists of persons who are aware of 
the importance of religion and morality above everjrthing; 
but, from not understanding the constitution of our 
nature and the composition of society, they are misled 
and hurried on by zeal in a course which cannot but lead 
to disappointment. One instance of this fell under my 
own eyes the other day in the little town of Ambleside, 
where a party, the leaders of which are young ladies, are 

1 The Priesfs Office Difficult and Dangerous, — Ed. 

2 The State of the Protestant Religion in Germany ^ a series of dis- 
courses preached before the University of Cambridge, by the Rev. 
Hugh James Rose, London, 1825. — Ed. 


determined to set up a school for girls on the Madras 
system, confidently expecting that these girls will in con- 
sequence be less likely to go astray when they grow up to 
be women. Alas, alas ! they may be taught, I own, more 
quickly to read and write under the Madras system, and 
to answer more readily, and perhaps with more intelli- 
gence, questions put to them than they could have done 
under dame-teaching. But poetry may, with deference to 
the philosopher and the religionist, be consulted in these 
matters ; and I will back Shenstone's school-mistress, by 
her winter fire and in her summer garden-seat, against 
all Dr. Bell's sour-looking teachers in petticoats that I 
have ever seen. 

What is the use of pushing on the education of girls so 
fast, and mainly by the stimulus of Emulation, who, to 
say nothing worse of her, is cousin-german to Envy? 
What are you to do with these girls ? What demand is 
there for the ability that they may have prematurely 
acquired ? Will they not be indisposed to bend to any 
kind of hard labour or drudgery ? And yet many of them 
must submit to it, or do wrong. The mechanism of the 
Bell system is not required in small places ; praying after 
Xh^ fugleman is not like praying at a mother's knee. The 
Bellites overlook the difference ; they talk about moral 
discipline ; but wherein does it encourage the imaginative 
feelings, without which the practical understanding is of 
little avail, and too apt to become the cunning slave of 
the bad passions ? I dislike display in everything ; above 
all in education. . . . The old dame did not affect to 
make theologians or logicians ; but she taught to read ; 
and she practised the memory, often, no doubt, by rote; 
but still the faculty was improved ; something, perhaps, 
she explained, and trusted the rest to parents, to masters, 


and to the pastor of the parish. I am sure as good 
daughters, as good servants, as good mothers and wives, 
were brought up at that time as now, when the world is 
so much less humble-minded. A hand full of employ- 
ment, and a head not above it, with such principles and 
habits as may be acquired without the Madras machinery, 
are the best security for the chastity of wiv6s of the lower 
rank. Farewell. I have exhausted my paper. 

Your affectionate 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Hugh James Rose 

My dear Sir, 

I have taken a folio sheet to make certain minutes 
upon the subject of Education. . . . 

As a Christian preacher your business is with man as 
an immortal being. Let us imagine you to be addressing 
those, and those only, who would gladly co-operate with 
you in any course of education which is most likely to 
insure to men a happy immortality. Are you satisfied 
with that course which the most active of this class are 
bent upon ? Clearly not, as I remember from your con- 
versation, which is confirmed by your last letter. Great 
principles, you hold, are sacrificed to shifts and expedi- 
ents. I agree with you. What more sacred law of 
nature, for instance, than that the mother should educate 
her child t Yet we felicitate ourselves upon the establish- 
ment of infant schools, which is in direct opposition to it. 
Nay, we interfere with the maternal instinct before the 
child is born, by furnishing, in cases where there is no 



necessity, the mother with baby linen for her unborn 
child. Now, that in too many instances a lamentable 
necessity may exist for this, I allow; but why should 
such charity be obtruded ? Why should so many excel- 
lent ladies form themselves into committees, and rush 
into an almost indiscriminate benevolence, which precludes 
the poor mother from the strongest motive human nature 
can be actuated by for industry, for forethought, and for 
self-denial ? When the stream has thus been poisoned at 
its fountain-head, we proceed, by separating, through infant 
schools, the mother from the child and from the rest of 
the family, disburthening them of all care of the little 
one for perhaps eight hours of the day. To those who 
think this an evil, but a necessary one, much might be 
said, in order to qualify unreasonable expectations. But 
there are thousands of stirring people now in England, who 
are so far misled as to deem these schools good in them- 
selves^ and to wish that, even in the smallest villages, the 
children of the poor should have what they call " a good 
education " in this way. Now, these people (and no error 
is at present more common) confound education with 

Education, I need not remark to you, is everything 
that draws out the human being, of which tuition^ the 
teaching of schpols especially, however important, is com- 
paratively an insignificant part. Yet the present bent of 
the public mind is to sacrifice the greater power to the 
less ; all that life and nature teach, to the little that can 
be learned from books and a master. In the eyes of an 
enlightened statesman this is absurd ; in the eyes of a 
pure lowly-minded Christian it is monstrous. 

The Spartan and other ancient communities might dis- 
regard domestic ties, because they had the substitute of 


Country, which we cannot have. With us, Country is a 
mere name compared with what it was to the Greeks: 
first, as contrasted with barbarians ; and next, and above 
all, as patriotic passion alone was strong enough then to 
preserve the individual, his family, and the whole State 
from ever-impending destruction. Our course is to sup- 
plement domestic attachments without the possibility of 
substituting others more capricious. 

Let it then be universally admitted that infant schools 
are an evil, only tolerated to qualify a greater, viz. the 
inability of mothers to attend to their children, and the 
like inability of the elder to take care of the younger, 
from their labour being wanted in factories, or elsewhere, 
for their common support. But surely this is a sad state 
of society; and if these expedients of tuition or educa- 
tion (if that word is not to be parted with) divert our 
attention from the fact that the remedy for so mighty an 
evil must be sought elsewhere, they are most pernicious 
things, and the sooner they are done away with the better. 

But even as a course of tuition I have strong objec- 
tions to infant schools, and in no small degree to the 
Madras system also. We must not be deceived by pre- 
mature adroitness. The intellect must not be trained 
with a view to what the infant or child may perform, 
without constant reference to what that performance 
promises for the man. It is with the mind as with the 
body. I recollect seeing a German babe stuffed with 
beer and beef, who had the appearance of an infant 
Hercules. He might have enough in him of the old 
Teutonic blood to grow up to be a strong man ; but tens 
of thousands would dwindle and perish after such unrea- 
sonable cramming. Now I cannot but think that the like 
would happen with our modern pupils, if the views of the 


patrons of these schools were realised. The diet they 
offer is not the natural diet for infant and juvenile minds. 
The faculties are over-strained, and not exercised with 
that simultaneous operation which ought to be aimed at 
as far as is practicable. Natural history is taught in 
infant schools by pictures stuck up against walls, and 
such mummery. A moment's notice of a red-breast peck- 
ing by a winter's hearth is worth it all. 

These hints are for the negative side of the question ; 
and for the positive, what conceit, and presumption, 
and vanity, and envy, and mortification, and hypocrisy, 
etc., etc. are the unavoidable result of schemes where 
there is so much display and contention ! All this is at 
enmity with Christianity; and if the practice of sincere 
churchmen in this matter be so, what have we not to 
fear when we cast our eyes upon other quarters where 
religious instruction is deliberately excluded ? The wisest 
of us expect far too much from school teaching. One of 
the most innocent, contented, happy, and (in his sphere) 
most useful, men whom I know can neither read nor 
write. Though learning and sharpness of wit must exist 
somewhere, to protect, and in some points to interpret, 
the Scriptures, yet we are told that the Founder of this 
religion rejoiced in spirit, that things were hidden from 
the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes; and 
again, '' Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou 
hast perfected praise." Apparently, the infants here con- 
templated were under a very different course of discipline 
•from that which many in our day are condemned to. In 
a town of Lancashire, about nine in the morning, the 
streets resound with the crying of infants, wheeled off in 
carts and other vehicles (some ladies, I believe, lending 
their carriages for this purpose) to their school-prisons. 


But to go back a little. Human learning, as far as it 
tends to breed pride and self-estimation (and that it 
requires constant vigilance to counteract this tendency 
we must all feel), is against the spirit of the gospel. 
Much cause, then, is there to lament that inconsiderate 
zeal, wherever it is found, which whets the intellect by 
blunting the affections. Can it, in a general view, be 
good that an infant should learn much which its parents 
do not know? Will not the child arrogate a superiority 
unfavourable to love and obedience ? 

But suppose this to be an evil only for the present 
generation, and that a succeeding race of infants will 
have no such advantage over their parents, still it may 
be asked, Should we not be making these infants too 
much the creatures of society when we cannot make them 
more so? Here would they be, for eight hours in the 
day, like plants in a conservatory. What is to become of 
them for the other sixteen hours, when they are returned 
to all the influences, the dread of which first suggested 
this contrivance ? Will they be better able to resist the 
mischief they may be exposed to from the bad example 
of their parents, or brothers and sisters? It is to be 
feared not, because, though they must have heard many 
good precepts, their condition in school is artificial ; they 
have been removed from the discipline and exercise of 
humanity, and they have, besides, been subject to many 
evil temptations within school and peculiar to it. 

In the present generation I ^cannot see anything of an 
harmonious co-operation between these schools and home 
influences. If the family be. thoroughly bad, and the 
child cannot be removed altogether, how feeble the bar- 
rier, how futile the expedient ! If the family be of middle 
character, the children will lose more by separation from 


domestic cares and reciprocal duties than they can pos- 
sibly gain from captivity, with such formal instruction as 
may be administered. 

We are then brought round to the point, that it is to a 
physical and not a moral necessity that we must look, if 
we would justify' this disregard, I had almost said viola- 
tion, of a primary law of human nature. The link of 
eleemosynary tuition connects the infant school with the 
national schools upon the Madras system. Now I can- 
not but think that there is too much indiscriminate 
gratuitous instruction in this country ; arising out of the 
misconception above adverted to, of the real power of 
school teaching, relative to the discipline of life; and 
out of an over-value of talent, however exerted, and of 
knowledge, prized for its own sake, and acquired in the 
shape of knowledge. The latter clauses of the last sen- 
tence glance rather at the London University and the 
Mechanics' Institutes than at the Madras schools, yet 
they have some bearing upon these also. Emulation, as 
I observed in my last letter, is the master-spring of that 
system. It mingles too much with all teaching, and with 
all learning; but in the Madras mode it is the great 
wheel which puts every part of the machine into motion. 

But I have been led a little too far from gratuitous 
instruction. If possible, instruction ought never to be 
altogether so. A child will soon learn to feel a stronger 
love and attachment to its parents, when it perceives that 
they are making sacrifices for its instruction. All that 
precept can teach is nothing compared with convictions 
of this kind. In short, unless book-attainments are 
carried on by the side of moral influences they are of no 
avail. Gratitude is one of the most benign of moral influ- 
ences ; can a child be grateful to a corporate body for 


its instruction ? or grateful even to the Lady Bountiful of 
the neighbourhood, with all the splendour which he sees 
about her, as he would be grateful to his poor father and 
mother, who spare from their scanty provision a mite for 
the culture of his mind at school? If we look back upon 
the progress of things in this country since the Refor- 
mation, we shall find that instruction has never been 
severed from moral influences and purposes, and the 
natural action of circumstances, in the way that is now 
attempted. Our forefathers established, in abundance, 
free grammar schools, but for a distinctly understood 
religious purpose. They were designed to provide against 
a relapse of the nation into Popery, by diffusing a know- 
ledge of the languages in which the Scriptures are written, 
so that a sufficient number might be aware how small a 
portion of the popish belief had a foundation in Holy 

It is undoubtedly to be desired that every one should 
be able to read, and perhaps (for that is far from being 
equally apparent) to write. But you will agree with me, 
I think, that these attainments are likely to turn to better 
account where they are not gratuitously lavished, and 
where either the parents and connections are possessed 
of certain property which enables them to procure the 
instruction for their children, or where, by their frugality 
and other serious and self-denying habits, they contribute, 
as far as they can, to benefit their offspring in this way. 
Surely, whether we look at the usefulness and happiness 
of the individual, or the prosperity and security of the 
state, this — which was the course of our ancestors — is 
the better course now. Contrast it with that recommended 
by men in whose view knowledge and intellectual adroit- 
ness are to do everything of themselves. 


We have no guarantee in the social condition of these 
a/<?//-informed pupils for the use they may make of their 
power and their knowledge; the scheme points not to 
man as a religious being; its end is an unworthy one; 
and its means do not pay respect to the order of things. 
Try the Mechanics' Institutes, and the London Univer- 
sity, etc., by this test. The powers are not co-ordinate 
with those to which this nation owes its virtue and its 
prosperity. Here is, in one case, a sudden formal 
abstraction of a vital principle, and in both an unnatural 
and violent pushing on. Mechanics' Institutes make 
discontented spirits and insubordinate and presumptuous 
workmen. Such at least was the opinion of Watt, one 
of the most experienced and intelligent of men. And 
instruction, where religion is expressly excluded, is little 
less to be dreaded than that by which it is trodden under 
foot. And, for my own part, I cannot look without 
shuddering on the array of surgical midwifery lectures, 
to which the youth of London were invited at the com- 
mencement of this season by the advertisements of the 
London University. Hogarth understood human nature 
better than these professors ; his picture I have not seen 
for many long years, but I think his last stage of cruelty 
is in the dissecting room. 

But I must break off, or you will have double postage 
to pay for this letter. Pray excuse it; and pardon the 
style, which is, purposely, as meagre as I could make it, 
for the sake of brevity. I hope that you can gather the 
meaning, and that is enough. I find that I have a few 
moments to spare, and will, therefore, address a word to 
those who may be inclined to ask. What is the use of all 
these objections ? The schoolmaster is, and will remain, 
abroad. The thirst of knowledge is spreading and will 


spread, whether virtue and duty go along with it or no. 
Grant it ; but surely these observations may be of use if 
they tend to check unreasonable expectations. One of 
the most difficult tasks is to keep benevolence in alliance 
with beneficence. Of the former there is no want, but we 
do not see our way to the latter. Tenderness of heart is 
indispensable for a good man, but a certain sternness of 
heart is as needful for a wise one. We are as impatient 
under the evils of society as under our own, and more so ; 
for in the latter case, necessity enforces submission. It 
is hard to look upon the condition in which so many of 
our fellow creatures are born, but they are not to be 
raised from it by partial and temporary expedients; it is 
not enough to rush headlong into any new scheme that 
may be proposed, be it Benefit Societies, Savings' Banks, 
Infant Schools, Mechanics' Institutes, or any other. Cir- 
cumstances have forced this nation to do, by its manu- 
facturers, an undue portion of the dirty and unwholesome 
work of the globe. The revolutions among which we 
have lived have unsettled the value of all kinds of prop- 
erty, and of labour, the most precious of all, to that 
degree that misery and privation are frightfully prevalent 
We must bear the sight of this, and endure its pressure, 
till we have by reflection discovered the cause, and not 
till then can we hope even to palliate the evil. It is a 
thousand to one but that the means resorted to will 
aggravate it. Farewell. 

Ever affectionately yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 

Query. — Is the education in the parish schools of 
Scotland gratuitous, or if not, in what degree is it so t 


William Wordsworth to F, Mansel Reynolds ^ 

Rydal Mount, Dec. 19th, 1828. 
My dear Sir, 

The best way of thanking you for your obliging letter 

is by replying to it immediately, which I shall do snap- 

pishly, not in temper, but for the sake of conciseness in 

style. ... In winter we live so much to ourselves that 

I have scarcely heard of it [ The Keepsake^ or any of its 

brethren. You do well to point out to me what would 

suit you best, but some of the pieces you mention are 

among the happinesses of a life. Such articles cannot 

be bespoken with the probability of the contract being 

fulfilled. You must take what comes, and be content. 

. . . My last edition is yet a few pounds in my^debt, and 

I am certain that the sale will be much impeded by the 

Paris edition, at less than half the price of the London 

one. Everybody goes to Paris nowadays. ... I am 

rather rich, having produced seven hundred and thirty 

verses during the last month after a long fallow. In the 

list are two stories ^ and three incidents,* so that your wish 

may be gratified by some one or more of these pieces. 

But I will tell you frankly, I can write nothing better than 

a great part of The Friend, whether it be for your purpose 

or no. I cannot yet dismiss The Keepsake, it has got me 

into a scrape with Alaric Watts. He sent me a message 

through Mrs. Coleridge (I hope not accurately delivered) 

that I had not only puffed everywhere The Keepsake, but 

1 Editor of The Keepsake. — Ed. 

2 Probably The Triad d^nd^ The fVishin^-Gate. —Ed. 

• Probably The Jewish Family^ The Gleaner, and Incident at 
Bruges.— -Ed, 


depreciated the other works of its kind, his own of course 
included. How he could think me capable of an3rthing so 
presumptuous, so ungentlemanly, and so ungenerous, I can- 
not conceive ! I was offended, and did not reply ; though 
he offered through the same channel to give me as much 
as you had done. It is true that I have frequently men- 
tioned The Keepsake among my friends and acquaint- 
ances, recommending it so far as to say that if high 
prices could procure good writings it could be found 
there ; but I sometimes added that such result was by 
no means sure. But as to any disparaging comparison 
between it and other works, especially of those editors 
with whom I am acquainted, had I even known the con- 
tents of The Keepsake, I could not have done such a 
thing. And here let me remind you that I consider 
myself quite at liberty to contribute to any of these works 
that will pay me as you have done, and have engaged to 
do so. I care not a straw whether they will or no, but 
that liberty I reserve, also the right of reprinting the 
pieces in any new edition of my works that may be called 
for. Pray confirm this by letter. 

We have had only one letter from Mr. Coleridge, since we 
left London. I doubt even that. I believe the short note 
was received while we were in town, so that we know nothing 
of his proceedings, his jollifications with you included. 

Allan Cunningham has been very urgent with me to 
write for him. We are on terms of intimacy, but my 
answer was as above. He offered me fifty guineas 
without mentioning quantity, before he knew the partic- 
ulars of my engagement with you; but I told him Alaric 
Watts had a prior claim. . . . 

I remain, my dear sir. 

Very faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Barron Field 

Rydal Mount, 20th December, [1828.] 
My dear Sir, 

... I am truly glad you liked T?u Triad} I think a 
great part of it is as elegant and spirited as anything I 
have written ; but I was afraid to trust my judgment, as 
the aery figures are all sketched from living originals that 
are dear to me. 

I have had a Worcester paper sent me that gives what 
it calls the real history of Miserrimus^ spoiling — as real 
histories generally do — the poem altogether. I doubt 
whether I ought to tell it you ; yet I may, for I had heard 
before — though since I wrote the sonnet — another his- 
tory of the same tombstone. The first was, that it was 
placed over an impious wretch, who in popish times had 
profaned the pix. The newspaper tale is, that it was 
placed over the grave of a nonjuring clergyman at his 
own request, one who refused to take the oath to King 
William, was ejected in consequence, and lived upon the 
charity of the Jacobites. He died at eighty-eight years 
of age, so that, at any rate, he could not have been ill fed ; 
yet the story says that the word alluded to his own suffer- 
ings on this account, i.e. his ejection, only. He must have 
been made of poor stuff ; and an act of duty of which the 
consequences were borne so ill has little to recommend 
him to posterity. I can scarcely think that such a feel- 
ing would have produced so emphatic and startling an epi- 
taph, and in such a place — just at the last of the steps 
falling from the Cathedral to the cloister. The pix story 
is not probable ; the stone is too recent. 

^ Just then published in The Keepsake for 1829. — Ed. 


I should like to write a short India piece, if you would 
furnish me with a story. Southey mentioned one to me 
in Forbes's Travels in India} Have you access to the 
book at Liverpool, and leisure to consult it ? He has it 
not. It is of a Hindoo girl, who applied to a Brahmin to 
recover a faithless lover, an Englishman. The Brahmin 
furnished her with an unguent with which she was to 
anoint his chest while sleeping, and the deserter would 
be won back. If you can find the passage, and as I said 
before have leisure, pray be so kind as to transcribe it 
for me, and let me know whether you think anything can 
be made of it. Adieu ; and believe me 

Affectionately and faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Rydal Mount, 
20th December, [Postmark, 1828.] 
My dear Friend, 

Pray prepare one of my busts for Mr. Barron Field, 
who will be in town in spring, and will receive and pay 
you for it. He is going out to Ceylon as advocate-fiscal, 
and wishes to take it along with him. He is also a par- 
ticular friend of Mr. Charles Lamb. I hope my nephew 
has received his at Oxford. . . . 

Ever faithfully your friend, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

1 See Oriental Memoirs ; from a Series of Familiar Letters by 
James Forbes (1813-1815), Vol. Ill, pp. 233-235. — Ed. 




Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Marshall 

[CoLEORTON,] 26 Dec, [1828.]* 

. . . The small living of Moresby, vacated by Mr. 
Huddlestone of Whitehaven, has been offered to John by 
Lord Lonsdale, and he thankfully accepts it. The man- 
ner in which Lord L. has done this favour is not less 
gratifying than the favour itself. 

Our rector, Mr. Merewether, is truly sorry to lose John, 
yet disinterested enough to be glad of his advancement. 
. . . He will remain here six months longer, and I of 
course shall remain with him. In fact, if he had con- 
tinued here another winter, I should have done so also ; 
as, in the first place, I am more useful than I could be 
anywhere else, and, in the second, am very comfortable. 
The walk to the rectory and the hall at Coleorton is not 
too long for a winter's morning call. Therefore we have 
no want of society, and our fireside at home has never 
been dull, or the evenings tediously long. It gives me 
great satisfaction also to see that John does the duties of 
his profession with zeal and cheerfulness, and is much 
liked and respected by the parishioners. His congrega- 
tions, notwithstanding the numerous dissenting meeting- 
houses, are much increased. 

Perhaps you know that we are on the borders of 
Chamwood Forest. There is much fine rocky ground, 

1 In 1828 John Wordsworth took holy orders, and lived first at 
Coleorton as curate. Dorothy went to stay with him at Coleorton 
on the 2 1 St of November, 1828. Later in the year he received from 
Lord Lonsdale the living of Moresby, two and a half miles from 
Whitehaven, whither he removed in 1829. — Ed. 


but no trees ; the road dry in general, so it may be called 
a good country for walkers. There is one hill from which 
we have a most extensive prospect, twenty-one miles dis- 
tant from us. The air is dry though cold (for we are at 
a great height above the sea). . . . John was at Cam- 
bridge last week, to be ordained priest; my brother 
Christopher and my nephews are well, and in good spir- 
its. . . . Five weeks have I been here, and not a single 
rainy day. . . . 


William Wordsworth to Abraham Hayward^ 

[No date; possibly 1828.] 

I am not sure that I understand one expression in the 
passage your obliging note refers to, viz., that society will 
hereafter tolerate no such thing as literature, considered 
merely as a creation of art. If this be meant to say that 
any writer will be disappointed who expects a place in 
the affections of posterity for works which have nothing 
but their manner to recommend them, it is too obviously 
true to require being insisted upon. But still such things 
are not without their value, as they may exemplify with 
liveliness (heightened by the contrast between the skill 
and perfection of the manner, and the worthlessness of 
the matter as matter merely) rules of art and workman- 
ship, which must be applied to imaginative literature, 
however high the subject, if it is to be permanently effi- 
cient. . . . 

1 Abraham Hay ward (1801-1884), editor of the Law Magatint, 
or Quarterly Review of Jurisprudence ixom 1829 to 1844, translator of 
Faust (1831) into English prose, and a voluminous literary essayist. 
— Ed. 



William Wordsworth to Christopher Wordsworth ^ 

Rydal Mount, Friday, 1828.^ 
My dear Brother, 

. . . Our expedition answered perfectly. Our route was 
by steam from London to Ostend, by barge to Ghent, by 
diligence to Brussels, by diligence to Namur, stopping 
four hours at the field of Waterloo, up the Meuse (en 
voiture) to Dinant, and back to Namur ; thence by barge 
down the Meuse to Libge, en voiture to Spa, and by the 
same conveyance to Aix-la-Chapelle and Cologne; thence 
to Godesberg, two leagues above Bonn on the Rhine. 
Here we halted a week, and thence up the Rhine, as 
far as it is confined between the rocks, viz. to Bingen, 
and down it by water to Godesberg again, having stopped 
a day or two wherever we were tempted. At Godesberg 
we remained nearly another week, and thence down the 
Rhine to Nijmegen ; thence en voiture to Arnheim and 
Utrecht, and by barge to Amsterdam, and so on through 
Haarlem, Leyden, The Hague, Delft, to Rotterdam; 
thence in steamboat to Antwerp, in diligence to Ghent, 
and by barge again to Ostend, where we embarked for 
London. ... On our return to the North we stopped a 
fortnight with John, with whom his mother had resided 
during our absence of nearly seven weeks ; and found 
John happy in the quiet and solitude of Whitwick. . . . 
I have been baffled in all my attempts to find a situation 

1 His brother, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. — Ed. 

* This imperfectly dated letter refers to the tour on the Rhine, in 
Belgium, and in Holland, which Wordsworth took with his daughter 
and S. T. Coleridge '*in the summer" of 1828. See his letter to 
Joseph Cottle, Jan. 27, 1829. — Ed. 


for William, so that after having taken him off from his 
Greek, and remitted his Latin reading in some degree, I 
am now obliged to turn my thoughts again to college. 
With this view he must quit home for a year's prepara- 
tion. I have written to Mr. Jackson to learn if he can 
take him; if he cannot, I must place him somewhere 
else, and should be glad of a suggestion from you on 
the subject. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham 

Rydal Mount, Monday, [1828?] 
My dear Friend, 

I have this moment received your urgent letter; it 
brings me to the point. My engagement with The Keep- 
sake was for one hundred guineas for verses, not less than 
twelve pages nor more than fifteen, and that I was to 
contribute to no other work at a lower rate, but if any 
editor would give as much, I was at liberty to take it 

Now I think this engagement would be broken, and it 
must seem so to you, should I accept your offer ; for ;^5o 
for seven pages, could you or any one else afford to give 
it, would, I think, be an evasion, as they pay for my name 
fully as much as for my verses ; and this would sink in 
value, according to the frequent use made of it. 

Mr. Watts has also a prior claim to you, and I could 
not accept one from you without giving him the refusal 
of the same terms; though Mr. Watts has done a good 
deal to cancel any claim upon him, by entertaining a 
notion that I was not content with recommending The 
Keepsake, but that I depreciated other works of the same 
character. How he could suppose me capable of such 


indelicacy I cannot comprehend ; I never wrote or said 
a word in depreciation of any particular annual in my 
life, and all that I have done for The Keepsake was to say 
among my acquaintances that I was a contributor, and 
that if high prices given to writers could secure good 
matter, it would be found in The Keepsake y but I added 
frequently that it was far from certain that would be the 

You see then exactly how the matter stands. I would 
most gladly meet your wishes as a iriend, — be assured 
of this, — but I must not break my word ; and it is right 
that poets should get what they can, as these annuals 
cannot but greatly check the sale of their works, from 
the large sums the public pay for them, which allows 
little for other poetry. 

Believe me, my dear sir. 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 





William W9rdswortk to Alexander Dyce 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, Jan. 12, 1829. 
Dear Sir, 

That you are convinced ^ gives me great pleasure, as I 
hope that every other editor of Collins will follow your 
example. You are at perfect liberty to declare that you 
have rejected Bell's copy in consequence of my opinion 
of it ; and I feel much satisfaction in being the instrument 
of rescuing the memory of Collins from this disgrace. I 
have always felt some concern that Mr. Home, who Uved 
several years after Bell's publication, did not testify more 
regard for his deceased friend's memory by protesting 
against this imposition. Mr. Mackenzie is still living, 
and I shall shortly have his opinion upon the question; 
and if it be at all interesting, I shall take the liberty of 
sending it to you. 

Dyer is another of our minor poets — minor as to 
quantity — of whom one would wish to know more. 
Particulars about him might still be collected I should 
think in South Wales, his native country, and where in 
early life he practised as a painter. I have often heard 

* Mr. Dyce wrote: "I am convinced by what Mr. Wordsworth 
remarked to me, that those portions of Collinses Ode on the Super- 
stitions of the Highlanders^ which first appeared in Bell's edition of 
that ode, were forgeries." — Ed. 


Sir George Beaumont express a curiosity about his 
pictures, and a wish, to see any specimen of his pencil 
that might survive. If you are a rambler, perhaps you 
may, at some time or other, be led into Carmarthenshire, 
and might bear in mind what I have just said of this 
excellent author. 

I had once a hope to have learned some unknown 
particulars of Thomson, around Jedburgh, but I was dis- 
appointed. Had I succeeded, I meant to publish a short 
life of him, prefixed to a volume containing The Seasons, 
The Castle of Indolencey his minor pieces in rhyme, and 
a few extracts from his plays, apd his Liberty ; and I feel 
still inclined to do something of the kind. These three 
writers, Thomson, Collins, and Dyer, had more poetic imag- 
ination than any of their contemporaries, unless we reckon 
Chatterton as of that age. I do not name Pope, for he 
stands alone, as a man most highly gifted; but unluckily 
he took the plain, when the heights were within his reach. 

Excuse this long letter, and believe me, 

Sincerely yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Barron Field 

Rydal Mount, 19th January, 1829. 
My dear Sir, 

Thank you for the extract from the Quarterly, It is a 
noble story. I remembered having read it ; but it is less 
fit for a separate poem than to make part of a philosoph- 
ical work. I will thank you for any notices from India, 
though I own I am afraid of an Oriental story. I know 
not that you will agree with me; but I have always 


thought that stories, where the scene is laid by our 
writers in distant climes, are mostly hurt, and often have 
their interest quite destroyed, by being overlaid with 
foreign imagery ; as if the tale had been chosen for the 
sake of the imagery only. 

I remain. 

Very faithfully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, 
19th January, [1829.] 
My dear Sir, 

... I was much pleased with a little drawing by Mr. 
Edmund Field — exceedingly so, and I wrote opposite it 
two stanzas which I hope he and Mrs. Field will pardon, 
as I have taken a liberty with his name. The drawing is 
admirably done, and of just such a scene as I delight in, 
and my favourite rivers, the Duddon, Lowther, Derwent, 
etc., abound in. . . . 

William Wordsworth to Joseph Cottle'^ 

Rydal Mount, near Kendal, 
27th January, 1829. 
My dear Sir, 

It is an age since you addressed a very kind letter to 
me, and though I did not receive it till long after its 
date, — being then upon the Continent, — I should have 

^ The son of his old publisher at Bristol. — Ed. 


replied to it much earlier, could I have done so to my 
satisfaction. But you will recollect it probably. The 
letter contained a request that I should address to you 
some verses. I wished to meet this desire of yours ; but, 
I know not how it is, I have ever striven in vain to write 
verses upon subjects either proposed, or imposed. I hoped 
to prove more fortunate on this occasion, but I have been 
disappointed. And therefore I beg you to excuse me, 
not imputing my failure to any want of inclination, or 
even to the absence of poetic feeling connected with times 
and places to which your letter refers. You will not be 
hurt at this inability, when I tell you that I was once a 
whole twelve-month occasionally employed in vain en- 
deavour to write an inscription upon a suggested subject, 
though it was to please one of my most valued friends. 

I am glad to hear of your intended publication. The 
Malvern Hills^ from which you gave me a valuable 
extract, I frequently look at. It was always a favourite 
of mine. Some passages — and especially one, closing 

To him who slept at noon and wakes at eve — 

I thought super-excellent. 

I was truly glad to have, from Mrs. W. and my daughter, 
so agreeable an account of your family, and to have this 
account confirmed by your letter. I often think with 
lively remembrance of the days I passed at Bristol, not 
setting the least value on those passed under the roof of 
your good father and mother. 

Last week I spent at Keswick with Mr. Southey; 
himself, his family, Mrs. Coleridge, and Sara, all well 
except for colds, scarcely to be avoided at this severe 

1 The Malvern Hillsy by Joseph Cottle, Sr., published in 1798. 
— Ed. 


season. S. was busy as usual, and in excellent spirits. 
His son, about ten years of age, is a very fine youth, and 
though not robust enjoys excellent health. Mrs. Level 
was but poorly, indeed her health seems quite ruined. 
You probably have heard that Coleridge was on the Con- 
tinent, along with my daughter and myself, last summer. 
The trip did him service, and though he was sometimes 
a good deal indisposed, his health, upon the whole, was 
for him not bad. Hartley lives in our neighbourhood. 
We see him, but not very often. He writes a good deal, 
and is about (I understand) to publish a volume of 
poems. You know that he is not quite so steady as his 
friends would wish. I must now conclude with the kind- 
est regards, in which my daughter joins with Mrs. Words- 
worth (my sister is in Leicestershire) to yourself, and your 
sisters, and nieces. And believe me, my dear friend. 

Very faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, 27th January, 1829. 
My dear Friend, 

What an odd view do you take of the stability of human 
life! "I accept your invitation" — these words set us 
all agog; we looked for you in ten days at most; then 
comes — " after my return from Germany, from Italy, and 
the Holy Land " ; but that did not follow, as it well 'might 
have done. Within the course of the last fortnight I have 
heard of the death of two among the most valued of my 
schoolfellows, — Godfrey Sykes, solicitor of the Stamp 


Office, and Mr. Calvert,^ probably unknown to you by 
name, — so we are thinned off. But you live in the light of 
hope, and you are in the right, as long as you can; but 
why not run down for a fortnight or three weeks? We 
should be so glad to see you! and really the absence you 
talk of is a little formidable to a man so near sixty as I 
am. About ten days ago I had a pop visit of ten minutes 
from Courtenay the barrister, who had been at Cocker- 
mouth Sessions. I recurred to the Law-Life Insurance, 
which you will recollect we all talked about together. He 
continues to affirm that it is a most excellent investment. 

Now I am expecting every week a legacy of one hundred 
and sixty to Mrs. Wordsworth. I do not wish to touch this 
money, but should like to make it up to two hundred, and 
invest it in this way for her benefit in case of my decease. 
Mr. C. says that no interest will be received for four or five 
years ; and you will recollect that you offered to lend your 
name, as the insurance must be in the name of some 
barrister whose honour may be depended upon. Will you 
be kind enough to call upon him, 23 Montagu Street, 
Russell Square, and settle the affair with him if you deem 
it an eligible thing, of which I suppose there is little doubt? 
The money shall be forthcoming at Masterman's Bank 
as soon as required. Should you disapprove of the 
intended insurance, pray let me know, with your reasons. 

I had a letter the other day from Mr. Richard Sharp, 
of the comer of Park Lane, Upper Grosvenor Street, and 
of Mansion House Place, about business ; which I was 
obliged to reply to in so great a hurry that I overlooked 
a notice of my son's position upon the list of candidates 
for the Athenaeum. I do not like to trouble him with 

1 William Calvert, brother of Raisley Calvert, his early benefac- 
tor. — Ed. 


another letter till I have an opportunity of a frank, which 
may not be shortly; therefore should you be passing 
either of these places, but not else, will you be kind 
enough to step in, and leave upon a slip of paper, that my 
son being beneficed in Cumberland, there is no proba- 
bility of an election to the Athenseum being of the least 
use to him, so that his name may be removed from the 
list of candidates. I shall have a letter to Mr. Sharp to 
this effect ready for the first opportunity. 

I have seen the article in Blackwood alluded to in 
your last; it is undoubtedly from the pen of Mr. Wilson 
himself. He is a perverse mortal, not to say worse of 
him. Have you peeped into his Trials of Margaret 
Lindsay ? ^ You will there see to what an extent he has 
played the plagiarist with the very tale of Margaret in 
Tke Excursion which he abuses ; and you will also, with 
a glance, learn what passes with him for poetical Chris- 
tianity. More mawkish stuff I never encountered. I 
certainly should think it beneath me to notice that article 
in any way ; my friends and admirers, I hope, will take 
the same view of it. Mr. W.'s pen must be kept going 
at any rate, I am at a loss to know why, but so it is ; he 
is well paid, twice as much, I am told, as any other con- 
tributor. In the same number of Blackwood is an article 
upon Rhetoric, undoubtedly from De Quincey. What- 
ever he writes is worth reading. . . . Last week I passed 
with Southey — well (except for a cold), busy as usual. 
He is about to publish a book, two volumes of dialogues 
between the ghost of Sir Thomas More* and Montesino 
himself. It is an interesting work, and I hope will attract 
some attention. But periodicals appear to have swallowed 

1 Published in 1823. — Ed. 

2 In 1829 he published Sir Thomas More. — Ed. 


so much money that there is none left for more respectable 
literature. You advert to critics that don't deal fairly with 
me. I do not blame them ; they write as they feel, and 
that their feelings are no better they cannot help. The 
other set of critics, like Gifford, had he been alive, had 
their classical prejudices ; and for the younger I am not 
poetical enough, they require higher seasoning than I give. 
Don't mind franks in writing to me, that is, never put 
off because you have not a cover ; I wish I had one for 
this, but here they are rarely to be had. . . . 

Your grateful and affectionate 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

Rydal Mount, i6th March, 1829. 

. . . More work and, less pay, prolonged service and 
diminished salary, are sureljTthe reverse of a dictate of 
natural justice, and this the Treasury knew as well, and 
some of them perhaps as feelingly, as we do. . . . 

W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to E. H, Barker 

Rydal Mount, April 23, 1829. 

In the 380th page of the second volume of the last 
edition of my Poems (1827), you will find a notice of the 
poetry printed by Macpherson under the name of Ossian, 


in which it is pronounced to be in a great measure spu- 
rious, and in the fourth volume of the same edition, 
page 238, is a poem, in which the same opinion is given. 
I am not at present inclined, nor probably ever shall 
be, to enter into a detail of the reasons which have led 
me to this conclusion. Something is said upon the sub- 
ject in the first of the passages, to which I have taken 
the liberty of referring you. Notwithstanding the censure, 
you will see proofs — both in page 238, and in page 15 of 
the third volume of the same edition — that I consider 
myself much indebted to Macpherson, as having made 
the English public acquainted with the traditions concern- 
ing Ossian and his age. Nor would I withhold from 
him the praise of having preserved many fragments of 
Gaelic poetry, which without his attention to the subject 
might perhaps have perished. Most of these, however, 
are more or less corrupted by the liberties he has taken 
in the mode of translating them. I need scarcely say 
that it will give me pleasure to receive the volume,^ in 
which you have given your reasons for an opinion on 
this subject differing from my own. 

I remain, sir, faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to an English Prelate unknown 


. . . The condition of Ireland is indeed, and long has 
been, wretched. Lamentable is it to acknowledge that 
the mass of her people are so grossly uninformed, and 

^ Parriana, by E. H. Barker, Esq., of Thetford, Norfolk, 
Vol. II, p. 758. — Ed. 


from that cause subject to such delusions and passions, 
that they would destroy each other were it not for 
restraints put upon them by a power out of themselves. 
This power it is that protracts their existence in a state 
for which otherwise the course of Nature would provide 
a remedy by reducing their numbers through mutual 
destruction, so that English civilisation may fairly be 
said to have been the shield of Irish barbarism. And 
now these swarms of degraded people, which could not 
have existed but through the neglect and misdirected 
power of the sister island, are, by a withdrawal of that 
power, to have their own way, and to be allowed to dic- 
tate to us. A population vicious in character and unnatu- 
ral in immediate origin (for it has been called into birth 
by short-sighted landlords set upon adding to the number 
of voters at their command, and by priests, who for lucre's 
sake favour the increase of marriage) is held forth as 
constituting a claim to political power, strong in propor- 
tion to its numbers ; though, in a sane view, that claim 
is in an inverse ratio to them. Brute force, indeed, 
wherever lodged, as we are too feelingly taught at pres- 
ent, must be measured and met ; measured with care, 
in order to be met with fortitude. 

The chief proximate causes of Irish misery and igno- 
rance are Popery — of which I have said so much — and 
the tenure and management of landed property ; and both 
these have a common origin, viz. the imperfect conquest 
of the country. The countries subjected by the ancient 
Romans, and those that in the Middle Ages were sub- 
dued by the northern tribes, afford striking instances of 
the several ways in which nations may be improved by 
foreign conquests. The Romans, by their superiority in 
arts and arms, and, in the earlier period of their history, 


in virtues also, may seem to have established a moral right 
to force their institutions upon other nations, whether 
under a process of decline, or emerging from barbarism ; 
and this they effected, we all know, not by overrunning 
countries as eastern conquerors have done, — and Buona- 
parte, in our own days, — but by completing a regular 
subjugation, with military roads and garrisons, which 
became centres of civilisation for the surrounding dis- 
trict Nor am I afraid to add — though the fact might be 
caught at, as bearing against the general scope of my argu- 
ment — that both conquerors and conquered owed much 
to the participation of civil rights which the Romans lib- 
erally communicated. The other mode of conquest, that 
pursued by the northern nations, brought about its bene- 
ficial effects by the settlement of a hardy and vigorous 
people among the distracted and effeminate nations 
against whom their incursions were made. The con- 
querors transplanted with them their independent and 
ferocious spirit, to reanimate exhausted communities; 
and in their turn received a salutary mitigation, till in 
process of time the conqueror and conquered, having a 
common interest, were lost in each other. To neither of 
these modes was unfortunate Ireland subject; and her 
insular territory — by physical obstacles, and still more 
by moral influences arising out of them — has aggravated 
the evil consequent upon independence, lost as hers was. 
The writers of the time of Queen Elizabeth have pointed 
out how unwise it was to transplant among a barbarous 
people, not half subjugated, the institutions that time 
had matured among those who too readily considered 
themselves masters of that people. It would be pre- 
sumptuous in me to advert in detail to the long-lived 
hatred that has perverted the moral -sense in Ireland, 


obstructed religious knowledge, and denied to her a due 
share of English refinement and civility. It is enough 
to observe that the Reformation was ill supported in that 
country, and that her soil became, through frequent for- 
feitures, mainly possessed by men whose hearts were not 
in the land where their wealth lay. . . . 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 
Rydal Mount, Kendal, April 26th, 1829. 

My dear Friend, 

Dora holds the pen for me. I have been unable either 
to read, or write. A third privation, full as grievous, is 
necessary cessation from the amusement of composition, 
and almost of thought. 

You cannot consult a better travelling guide than 
Mr. Sharp. I would go nowhere where he has been 
without the benefit of his experience. Would that we 
could join you in Rome ! but till my son William is pro- 
vided for, the hope cannot be encouraged. My sister-in- 
law Miss Joanna Hutchinson, and her brother Henry, 
an ex-sailor, are about to embark at the Isle of Man for 
Norway, to remain till July. Were I not tied by the 
Stamp Office I should certainly accompany them. As 
far as I can look back I discern in my mind imaginative 
traces of Norway. The people are said to be simple, 
and worthy; and Nature is magnificent. I have heard 
Sir H. Davy affirm that there is nothing equal to some 
of the ocean inlets of that region ; and lastly, the very 
small expense would suit my finances. 


This last word brings me to money. Following the 
example of my kind friend Mr. Sharp, I have sold out 
of the French funds, and in consequence have £2^$j 
lying in the Kendal Bank at 2^ per cent; this money I 
am most anxious to lodge upon some unexceptionable 
security, if possible at the rate of 4^ per cent. If not, 
I must descend in my expectations to 4. My wish is to 
renounce all speculation and to be secure from a fall in 
the principal, for the sake of those whom I may leave 
behind. Mr. Sharp has kindly stated to me the sup- 
posed advantages and disadvantages of reinvestment in 
funds French or English. The interest in either case 
is something under 4 per cent, but with regard to the 
French 3*s, there is a possibility of a rise in the principal. 
This, however, I would waive, and am inclined to prefer 
the English 4*s if I can do no better; but here I fear 
a decline in the principal, which — our fortune being 
so small — would be mortifying, after having gained 
from interest and principal upwards of ;^iooo on ;£"i8oo 
since 1820. 

It would have been a great joy to us to have seen you, 
though upon a melancholy occasion. You talk of the 
more than chance of your being absent upwards of two 
years. I am sorry for it on my own account, the more 
so as I have entered on my sixtieth year. Strength must 
be failing and snappings off (as the danger my dear sister 
has just escaped lamentably proves) ought not to be 
long out of sight. 

What a shock that was to our poor hearts ! Were she 
to depart, the phase of my moon would be robbed of light 
to a degree that I have not courage to think of. During 
her illness we often thought of your high esteem for her 
goodness, and of your kindness towards her upon all 


>ccasions. Our last account was of the 19th. That 
norning she had been out in the garden for ten minutes ; 
md we know that, if she had not been going on well since, 
ve should certainly have heard. We look for a letter in 
:ourse to-morrow. Mrs, Wordsworth is still with her, 
tnd I have entreated her to stay ten days more. Dora is 
ny house-keeper, and did she not hold the pen it would run 
vild in her praises. Sara Coleridge, one of the loveliest 
ind best of creatures, is with me, so that I am an enviable 
>erson, notwithstanding our domestic impoirerishment. 
^rs. Coleridge is here also ; and, if pity and compassion 
or others' anxieties were a sweet sensation, I might be 
envied on that account also, for I have enough of it. 

I have nothing to say of books (newspapers having 
employed all the voices I could command), except that 
:he first volume of Smith's ^ Nolkkens and his Times has 
t>een read to me, and I am indignant at the treachery 
that pervades it. Smith was once very civil to me, offer- 
ing to show me anything in the museum at any and all 
times when he was disengaged. I suppose he would 
have made a prey of me, as he has done of all his 
acquaintances, of which I had at that time no suspicion, 
having thought myself not a little obliged to him for his 
offer. There are, however, some anecdotes in the book. 
The one which made most impression on me was that of 
Re3molds, who is reported to have taken — from the print 
of a half-penny ballad in the street — an effect in one of 
his pictures, which pleased him more than anything he 
had produced. 

If you were here I might be tempted to talk with you 
about the Duke's "settling" of the Catholic question. 

1 Nollekens and his Titnes^ by John Thomas Smith (1829). — Ed. 


Yet why ? for you are going to Rome, the very centre of 
light, and can have no occasion for my farthing candle. 
My kindest regards to the Lambs. Tell them about my 
sister, and say that I have long wished to write to Charles, 
and will certainly do so, as soon as I recover the use 
of my eyes for a little reading ; which will be necessary 
for his play, and for the books he sent me, before I can 
make acknowledgments to my wish. Dora joins me in 
affectionate regards. She is a staunch anti-Papist, in a 
woman's way, and perceives something of the retributive 
hand of justice in your rheumatism; but, nevertheless, 
like a true Christian, she prays for your speedy convales- 

Ever most faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

[April, 1829.] 
My dear Friend, 

I cannot help slipping a note into a frank for London 
to thank you for your very kind letter, which makes me 
not quite hopeless of having a sight of you before I quit 
the midland part of England. Yet perhaps I ought not 
to hope in this case, as it seems if I do see you it will 
be at the expense of a long, perhaps tedious, and cer- 
tainly to you melancholy, journey into Scotland. At all 
events, however, I may lawfully be pleased that if you 
should have this journey to take, you will remember me 
and the curate of Whitwick, and turn aside to our lowly 


I must have expressed myself with strange obscurity 
(but I wrote in great haste), since you have understood 
me as asking for a sketch-letter concerning your journey 
to the Pyrenees. If I said anything about a full account 
of that journey, it was not as drawn up for my particular 
use and pleasure, but in connexion with your previous 
more detailed tours, which with that of the Pyrenees also, 
I hope — now that you are aloof from the cares of the 
Courts of Justice — you will arrange and amplify, and at 
some time publish. I do not recollect what I said, but 
the above is what I have often thought of ; and, in fact, 
I had received your very interesting Pyrenean sketch 
and, in the ambiguous words of that hurried letter, meant 
to thank you for it. It is of no use to rake up in your 
mind the contents of my (I fear too careless) letters, still 
less to hunt for them in your bureau ; so, my dear friend, 
accept my thanks for this last and all former favours. 
The blunder gives me no uneasiness, being well satisfied 
that your friendship does not hang on trifles of punctilio 
like these ; so no more on this subject. 

Probably before this reaches you you may have heard 
of the last honour bestowed upon my bright and amiable 
nephew, Christopher Wordsworth, the appointment to the 
Craven Scholarship. You may be sure that his good 
father and all of us were made very happy last Monday 
morning, when the unanimous decision of the examiners 
was pronounced. He had already received honours, and 
prizes, sufficient to satisfy youthful ambition ; but this is, 
besides the honour, an affair worthy of consideration, viz. 
£^0 per annum for seven years. He does not intend to 
enter for the summer (the Brownonian) medals; and I 
believe not for any, not even the Chancellor's medal, for 
English verse. This I am glad of, as it will leave him 


time, if he have resolution, to apply sufficiently to the 
mathematics, to obtain such a rank in the Mathematical 
Tripos as will enable him to strive for a place in the Clas- 
sical, which his brother John has been excluded from, by 
being utterly unable to do anything in mathematics. I 
said I am glad of Christopher's determination for the 
above reason, but also on other accounts. It is surely very 
discouraging to the competitors when one is sure to cany 
away all that he strives for, which in Christopher's case 
has hitherto always happened. 

I assure you he is not in the least elated by the con- 
gratulations he receives. Quite the contrary. He is very 
humble-minded, and one of the happiest and cheerfulest 
of human beings. I have good accounts from Rydal. 
John is now on his road thence to Whitwick, where I 
shall join him next Wednesday. William will accompany 
him on his way to London, whence he will depart in 
April with a Mr. Papendich, under whose care he is to 
remain for one year at Bremen, to learn the German and 
French languages, and I hope improve himself in other 
points. I have said William will be on his road to Lon- 
don; but in fact he will stay with us at Whitwick till 
summoned to London, at the time that Mr. Papendich 
is ready to sail for Germany. I had intended leaving 
Cambridge to-morrow, but have been tempted to stay 
where I am so happy and comfortable until Tuesday 
morning, when I shall take coach to Leicester, sleep 
there, and the next morning proceed by the Ashby-de- 
la-Zouch coach to Hugglescote (within two miles of Whit- 
wick), whence I shall walk to W., leaving my luggage at H. 
I mention this as a guidance for you in case you should 
visit us in your way from London. Should you take us 
on your return, you must stop at Loughborough, seven 


miles from Whitwick. But when the time comes, of 
course you will apprise us, and I will again give you 
precise directions. . . . 

Yours affectionately, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

[May 2, 1829.] 
My dear Friend, 

Your letter, which by some strange mistake was directed 
to me at Rydal instead of Whitwick, has just reached me, 
with a few words upon it by my niece, telling me that her 
father had written to you. From him you will have heard 
all particulars respecting where the dispersed of the family 
are, what doing, and what intending, and this I am glad 
of, not having time or room for a long letter. It drew 
tears from my eyes to read of your affectionate anxiety 
concerning me. In fact it is the first time in my life of 
fifty-six years in which I have had a serious illness ; there- 
fore I never before had an opportunity of knowing how 
much some distant friends cared about me. Friends 
abroad — friends at home — all have been anxious; and 
more so, far more I am sure, than I deserve; but I 
attribute much of this to my having been so remarkably 
strong and healthy. It came like a shock to every one, to 
be told of a dangerous illness having attacked me. I am 
now, through God's mercy, perfectly restored to health 
and almost to strength ; but quiet care, for a time at least, 
I am assured is necessary; and indeed my own frame 
admonishes me that it is. But for the sake of my kind 


friends I am bound to take care, and I promise them all, 
including you who will be far away from us, that I will 
be neither rash nor negligent. Indeed I never can forget 
what I suffered myself, nor the anxiety of those around 
me. My nephew William was the tenderest nurse pos- 
sible. It would have moved anybody's heart to see him. 
But enough of this subject. He is still at Whitwick, and 
we hear nothing of Mr. Papendich's arrival in England; 
but I think we shall part from William finally in a week. 
His uncle wishes to see him at Cambridge. There he will 
stay a short while, and proceed to London, where he will 
take up his quarters with Mr. Quillinan (to whom, if you 
see him, give my kind love, and tell him I am deeply sen- 
sible of the interesft I know he has taken concerning me). 
I am not hopeless of William's having the good fortune 
to see you before your departure. Yours is dated the 27th, 
and you say in about ten days you shall go into Suffolk, 
pay the Clarksons a visit, and return to London. I wish 
this may catch you before your departure for Suffolk, 
indeed I expect it will ; otherwise I should not have 
troubled you with the enclosure for Rydal. You must know 
we sent a letter there yesterday, and to-day Dora's little 
note arrives (written in yours), and there is something in 
it which it is better to answer immediately, yet we cannot 
find it in our hearts to tax her with a second shilling; so, 
recollecting that you can almost command franks through 
your loyal friends, I take the chance, and shall be much 
obliged to you and the worthy alderman if by your joint 
services it can be forwarded. ... I wish you would now 
and then write to us when you are abroad. How long 
do you mean to stay? God grant that we may all be 
alive and in good health at your return ! And what a joy- 
ful welcome we shall give you at Rydal Mount 1 If my 


brother ever should be able to take us into Italy, we shall 
call on you to fulfil your promise of accompanying us, and 
what an accomplished guide you will be. 

Your affectionate friend, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

[May 18, 1829.] 
My dear Friend, 

Mrs. W. holds the pen for me, having returned from 
Whitwick, where last Monday she left our dear sister 
improving gradually. 

I am almost ashamed to trouble you about my concerns, 
now that you must be so busy in settling your own. I 
have heard from Mr. Courtenay to-day, and he gives so 
flattering an account of the Law-Lives that, notwithstand- 
ing the rise, I mean to avail myself of yoUr kind offer. 
His words are, " I firmly believe that Law-Life shares will 
pay you, if bought at any price under £\ i per share, will 
pay excellent interest — though nothing will be touched 
for the first four years — but the property will be increas- 
ing, etc." 

I have therefore placed ;^3oo at your disposal in Mas- 
terman's Bank, and I beg you will take the trouble of 
going through the forms necessary to effect for me this 
security, not omitting such considerations as will naturally 
suggest themselves to a lawyer about to reside a couple 
of years in foreign parts. I am most sincere in the 
expression of my regret at imposing so much trouble 


upon you at this time, and am also truly thankful for your 
last interesting letter. Will it tend in any way to repay 
you, if Mrs. W. transcribes the opinion of Mr. Rathbone, 
the first American merchant in Liverpool, upon American I 
securities ? 

"I can only say that my opinion is very favourable. 
Their habits of legislature are economical ; they are not 
troubled with any refined feeling that should make them 
give any one of their public servants one farthing more 
than they think his services worth. In their public en- 
gagements they have been very punctual; their rapid 
improvement in public wealth has left them without 
temptation to be otherwise ; and their States to the west- 
ward are growing with such accelerated increase in popu- 
lation that I consider the security, either of the stock of 
the States or of the Federation, as undoubted. The rate 
of interest must depend upon the rate of exchange 
at which the dividends are remitted, which varies from 
8 to 12 per cent. My sister has some money in stocks of 
the United States by our advice. Some of the stocks are 
more saleable than others, which is an object of consider- 
ation to those who may want their money ; but where 
income is the object, some of the heavy stocks pay the 
best interest. The Ohio stock is one of these latter. Of 
the Louisiana I can only speak generally, not particularly. 
It is, however, a rapidly increasing State." 

Against the above opinion, which was asked for in con- 
sequence of your letter, I have nothing to say but that 
Mr. Rathbone, being a Quaker, may be somewhat biassed 
towards the Americans. Mr. Courtenay, in conclusion, 
says : " He should be sorry to risk the welfare of those dear 
to him by investment in French funds," and, as his final 
opinion, bids me look out for a good mortgage in England. 


He says, " I should prefer that to any other security." 
This is what I — W. W. — wish for ; but where am I to 
find it? 

If I excursionize at all this summer, it will be by steam 
to Staffa, lona, etc. ; but I wish I had seen Rome, Flor- 
ence, and the Bay of Naples. I have not opened a book 
for nine weeks — a fine holiday I Have you seen Southey's 
Colloquies ? If so, how do you like them ? Pray effect a 
meeting with my son William, who will be at Mr. Quilli- 
nan's in a few days ; write him a note, and he will call 
upon you when and wherever you may appoint. Would 
we might tempt you to come down for a fortnight, and 
join Dora and myself in a tour to the Duddon, etc, which 
we meditate. Farewell. Mary and Dora join me in best 

Sincerely yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Sir George Beaumont 

Rydal Mount, Sunday, July 19, 1829. 

My dear Sir George, 

Last night Mr. Drummond arrived, and brought your 
very kind letter. The mournful event ^ which occasioned 
it, I was instantly informed of by the care — for which I 
was truly thankful — of Mr. Knight, and Mr. Merewether. 

The shock was very painful, and would have been 
still more so had we received it first through the public 


1 The death of his mother, the dowager Lady Beaumont, wife of 
Sir George, the artist. — £d. 


It is seven and twenty years since I first became ac- 
quainted with the lamented pair whom we have lost We 
soon became united in affectionate intercourse, which has 
known no abatement, but our friendship rather strength- 
ened with time, and will survive in my heart till it ceases 
to beat In the recently deceased we have lost one of 
the most disinterested and pure-minded of human beings. 
Abundant proofs have I had, my dear Sir George, how 
strongly attached she was to you, and from the depths of 
my heart I condole with you and Lady Beaumont in this 
bereavement ; but she was ripe for the change, blessed be 
God ! and I trust is, or is destined to be, a glorified spirit 

We were sorry to learn from Mr. Drummond that your 
own health had suffered under this trial. I should be 
glad to hear that nothing of the kind recurred from what 
you have yet to go through at Coleorton. The funeral 
will be to-morrow; may you be supported through it! 
Mr. Drummond tells me that Mr. Merewether has in his 
possession a paper, dated so far back as 18 16, signifying 
the wish of the departed upon this and some other points; 
which leads me to remember that when Lady Beaumont 
conducted Mrs. Wordsworth and myself to the monument 
of Sir George, she said, " You observe there is just room 
for my name below"; but whether she meant on the 
same tablet, neither of us could venture to ask ; but you 
may have more recent instructions. 

We are most anxious to hear how my poor sister bears 
these afflicting tidings. She is at Halifax, in Yorkshire, 
where she was left by my son recovering from the effects 
of her late dangerous illness. Thankful at all events will 
she be that her dear friend's time of suffering was so 
short, and that she passed several days with her and 
Mrs. Willes so lately. 


Along with my condolence, in which Mrs. Wordsworth 
and my daughter join, to Lady Beaumont, present my 
sincere regards, and believe me, my dear Sir George, 

Faithfully, your much obliged 

William Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Barron Field 

Rydal Mount. 
My dear Sir, 

It gives me great pleasure that your destiny is changed. 

Gibraltar is rather a confined situation; but I hope it 

may agree with your health, and Mrs. Field's. It cannot 

but be greatly preferable to India, and is so much nearer 

home that it seems a good deal more probable that we 

may meet again than if your station had been the East. 

Take our best wishes, and God bless you. I remain. 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth, 


William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

R.YDAL Mount, July 24, 1829. 

... I wish to make a tour in Ireland, perhaps, along 
with my daughter ; but I am ignorant of so many points, 
— as where to begin — whether it be safe at this rioting 


period — what is best worth seeing — what mode of trav- 
elling will furnish the greatest advantages at the least 
expense. Dublin, of course, the Wicklow Mountains, Kil- 
larney Lakes, and, I think, the ruins not far from Limerick 
would be among my objects, returning by the North. . . . 
It is time to thank you for the verses you so obligingly 
sent me. Your sister's have abundance of spirit and 
feeling ; all that they want is what appears in itself of 
little moment, and yet is incalculably great, that is, 
workmanship, the art by which the thoughts are made 
to melt into each other, and to fall into light and shadow, 
regulated by distinct preconception of the best general 
effect they are capable of producing. This may seem 
very vague to you, but by conversation I think I could 
make it appear otherwise. It is enough for the present 
to say that I was much gratified, and beg you will thank 
your sister for favouring me with the sight of composi- 
tions so distinctly marked with that quality which is the 
subject of them, viz. Genius, Your own verses are to 
me very interesting, and affect me much as evidences of 
high- and pure-mindedness, from which humble-minded- 
ness is inseparable. I like to see and think of you among 
the stars, and between death and immortality, where three 
of these poems place you. The Dream of Chivalry is also 
interesting in another way ; but it would be insincere not 
to say that something of a style more terse, and a har- 
mony more accurately balanced, must be acquired before 
the bodily form of your verses will be quite worthy of 
their living souls. You are probably aware of this, 
though perhaps not in an equal degree with myself ; nor 
is it desirable you should be, for it might tempt you to 
labour which would divert you from subjects of infinitely 
greater importance. 


Many thanks for your interesting account of Mr. Edge- 
worth. I heartily concur with you in the wish that 
neither Plato, nor any other author, may lead him from 
the truths of the Gospel, without which our existence is 
an insupportable mystery to the thinking mind. 

Looking for a reply at your early convenience, 

I remain, my dear sir. 

Faithfully, your obliged 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to George Huntly Gordon ^ 

Rydal Mount, July 29, 1829. 
My dear Sir, 

I hope you have enjoyed yourself in the country, as we 
have been doing among our shady woods, and green hills, 
and invigorating streams. The summer is passing on, and 
I have not left home, and perhaps shall not ; for it is far 
more from duty than inclination that I quit my dear and 
beautiful home, and duty pulls two ways. On the one 
side my mind stands in need of being fed by new objects 
for meditation and reflection, the more so because dis- 
eased eyes have cut me off so much from reading ; and, 
on the other hand, I am obliged to look at the expense 
of distant travelling, as I am not able to take so much 
out of my body by walking as heretofore. 

1 have not got my MS. back from the ,' whose 

managers have, between them, used me shamefully; but 

• 1 Of His Majesty's Stationery Office. — Ed. 

2 An annual, to which he had been induced to become a contrib- 
utor. — Ed. 


my complaint is principally of the editor, for with the 
proprietor I have had little direct connection. If you 
think it worth while, you shall, at some future day, see 
such parts of the correspondence as I have preserved. 
Mr. Southey is pretty much in the same predicament 
with them, though he has kept silence for the present. . . . 
I am properly served for having had any connection 
with such things. My only excuse is, that they offered 
me a very liberal sum, and that I have laboured hard 
through a long life without more pecuniary emolument 
than a lawyer gets for two special retainers, or a public 
performer sometimes for two or three songs. Farewell. 
Pray let me hear from you at your early convenience. 

And believe me faithfully. 

Your much obliged 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

Patterdale, August 4, 1829. 

I am truly obliged by your prompt reply to my letter, ,^ 
and your kind invitation, which certainly strengthens in V^ 
no small degree my wish to put my plan of visiting Ireland 
into execution. At present I am at Patterdale, on my 
way to Lord Lonsdale's, where I shall stay till towards the 
conclusion of the week, when I purpose to meet my wife 
and daughter on their way to my son's at Whitehaven ; j^ 
and if I can muster courage to cross the Channel, and 
the weather be tolerable, I am not without hope of em- 
barking Friday after next. This is Monday, August 4th; 


I believe every Friday the steamboat leaves Whitehaven 
for the Isle of Man. Whether it proceeds directly to 
Dublin or not, I do not know, but probably it does. I do 
not think it very probable that my daughter will accom- 
pany me, yet she may do so ; and I sincerely thank you, 
in her name and my own, for the offer of your hospi- 
talities, which, as we are utter strangers in Dublin, 
will be highly prized by us. Believe me, my dear Mr. 

Most sincerely, your much obliged 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

Whitehaven, August 15, 1829. 

. . . The steamboat has been driven ashore here, so 
that I could not have gone in her to Dublin. But my 
plans had been previously changed. My present inten- 
tion is to start with Mr. Marshall, M.P. for Yorkshire, 
who gives me a seat in his carriage, for Holyhead, on the 
24th inst; so that by the 27th or 28th we reckon upon 
being in Dublin, when I shall make my way to the 
Observatory, leaving him and his son to amuse them- 
selves in the city, where he purposes to stop three days ; 
which time, if convenient, I should be happy to be your 
guest. We then proceed upon a tour of the island by Cork, 
Bantry, Killarney, Limerick, etc., up to the Giant's Cause- 
way, and return by Portpatrick. . . . 


William Wordsworth to Henry Robinson^ 

Sea View, Whitehaven, 

Saturday, August 15th, [1829.] 
My dear Sir, 

I have no objection whatever to advance ;£'2ooo upon 
unobjectionable security, and therefore will thank you to 
let me know the particulars, with your judgment there- 
upon, as speedily as you can. I remain here till this day 
•^ week, so that, if you can address me here, pray do. On 
Saturday I return to Rydal, and remain there till Sunday 
evening, when I depart upon a tour which might make it 
more difficult to communicate with me. About the 27th 
or 28th inst. I shall be in Dublin, where a letter ad- 
dressed Post Office, under cover to John Marshall, Esq., 
M. P., will find me; but I hope it will be convenient for 
you to write me to this place. 

I remain, dear sir, faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Christopher Wordsworth 

Wexford, Ireland, 
Saturday, September 5th, [1829.] 
My dear Brother, 

If you have not heard from others of my move- 
ments you will be surprised at the date of this. . . . 
My quarters were at the Observatory four or five miles 
from Dublin, with Professor Hamilton, a young man of 

1 Henry Robinson, solicitor, York. — Ed. 


extraordinary genius, the successor of Dr. Brinkley. In 
the course of two days I saw as much of Dublin as I 
wished, all the public buildings inside and out, Trinity 
College, — its hall, library, various MSB., etc., including 
the Fagel collection, 20,000 volumes, for which during 
the French Revolution the college gave between eight 
and ten thousand pounds, — the bank, formerly the Par- 
liament House, etc. We left Dublin on Wednesday at 
noon, and have since seen all the crack places of the 
Wicklow Mountains and country, the Devil's glen ex- 
cepted. The scenery is certainly charming, and either 
for residence or occasional touring from Dublin must be 
delightful. But I have yet seen nothing in Ireland com- 
parable to what we have in Wales, Scotland, and among 
our Lakes. The celebrated vale of Avoca and the glen 
of the Dargle are both rich in beauty, the latter in char- 
acter something between Wharfdale and Fascally in the 
Highlands, where the Garry and the Tummel meet below 
the pass of Killiecrankie ; superior to Wharfdale, but yet 
in a greater degree inferior to the Scotch scenes. You 
have heai:d probably of the "Seven Churches.** This 
ground, so famous for the miracles of St. Kevin, we vis- 
ited, and were highly interested ; a deep valley with two 
lochs or pools, the one of the serpent unholy, in which no 
one will bathe, and the other sacred. Near three of the 
churches, .of which alone considerable remains are left, 
stands a very lofty round pillar, very much like a light- 
house, but (as are the churches) of extreme antiquity. 
While we were looking round upon this sad, solemn, and 
romantic scene, with a train of poor hangers-on and our 
guide, a woman about thirty years of age passed, bearing 
a sickly child in her arms. Mr. Olway, a Protestant 
clergyman, who along with Professor Hamilton had 


kindly come from Dublin to meet us here, knowing 
what she must be about, put to her some questions ; from 
which we learned that she was going to dip the child in a 
part of the stream called Kevin's pool, to cure its lame- 
ness. She had already come four long miles to do this; 
a trouble she had taken three times already, and said 
her prayers nine times, kneeling on four corners of the 
rocks in the bed of the river in succession. Afterwards 
I went to see this pool. Near it stands a sacred thorn, 
which I found covered with innumerable little rags of 
linen cloth, small slips, hung there to wear away in the 
weather, from a belief that, as the rags consume, the dis- 
ease will abate also. It would have affected you very 
much to see this poor confiding creature, and to hear the 
manner in which she expressed her faith in the goodness 
of God and St. Kevin. What would one not give to see 
among Protestants such devout reliance on the mercy of 
their Creator, so much resignation, so much piety, so much 
simplicity and singleness of mind, purged of the accom- 
panying superstitions ! The tenderness with which she 
spoke of the child and its sufferings, and the sad pleas- 
ure with which she detailed the progress it had made 
towards recovery, would have moved the most insensible ; 
but, after all, her resignation to the event, be it what it 
might, was uppermost. . . . 

We are at Killarney, balked by a wet day. We have 
seen Waterford, the banks of the Suir, and the Black 
Water, from four or five miles below Lismore Castle to 
Fermoy, thence to Cork, of which the harbour is most 
beautifully gay and rich. With the scenery in Ireland, 
excepting what could be seen of Killarney from one point 
of view yesterday, and what we have caught a glimpse of 
this morning, I am upon the whole disappointed; not 


with the county of Wicklow, but all the rest, except this 
truly enchanting neighbourhood, for such it seems. But 
how mortifying this vile weather ! . . . This region 
appears deserving of all the praise that has been lav- 
ished upon it. . . . The condition of the lower orders 
is indeed abject, as you well know. But there are every- 
where, more or less scattered, symptoms of improvement, 
and in some places great advances have been made. 
... I am inclined to think less unfavourably of the 
disposition of the upper ranks of Catholics to exalt 
their Church, however much they may wish ours to be 
depressed. They have been mortified by the power of 
the priests ; but still they have sufficient motives of a 
temporal nature for hostility to our Church. . . . 

Yours, most affectionately, 

W. W. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Marshall 

15th September, [1829.] 

... On Wednesday Dora arrived from Keswick, where 
she had been officiating, with seven more young ladies, 
as bridesmaid to her friend Sara Coleridge. . . . She is 
as lively as a lark, and is going to Coniston with the 
bride and bridegroom, who have been staying with us 
since Thursday, a very interesting pair. They are to 
leave us to-morrow (Wednesday) and on Thursday Mrs. 
Coleridge (the mother) will come to us to stay till Mon- 
day morning ; when she is to depart for Halston in Corn- 
wall, on a visit to her son Derwent, who is settled there 
as curate and schoolmaster. Mrs, Coleridge will be 


brought hither by a Miss Trevenan, a parishioner of 
Derwent's, a very wealthy lady, travelling in her own 
carriage, who will take Mrs. C. into Cornwall, after spend- 
ing a day with us. I am glad to tell you of any good for- 
tune attending S. T. Coleridge's sons. I will therefore 
add that this lady is even quite the patroness of Derwent, 
stood godmother for his child, and is very much attached 
to D. and to his wife. . . . 

It is time to turn to our travellers.^ Our last letter 
was from Cork. My brother seems to have been much 
more than satisfied with the tour, highly delighted, more 
perhaps with the society, the opportunities of obser- 
vations, etc., than with the scenery; yet the Seven 
Churches, and other particular objects, had struck him 
very much. . . . 

Yours affectionately, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Christopher Wordsworth 

Limerick, 17th, [Postmark, Sept., 1829.] 

My dear Brother, 

Read this first. This letter, begun on the 5 th, I could 
not think worthy of being sent off, and I never have 
found time to write a better, for I really have worked 
hard. The day before yesterday Mr. James Marshall and 
I breakfasted at five, set off from Kenmare at half past, 
rode ten Irish miles, took to our feet, ascended nearly 
fifteen hundred feet, descended as much, ascended 

1 Her brother and Mr. Marshall — Ed. 


another ridge as high, descended as much, and then 
went to the top of Carrantuohill, three thousand feet, 
the mountain being the highest in Ireland, three thou- 
sand four hundred and ten feet above the level of the sea. 
We then descended, walked nearly two hours, and rode 
on bad horses an hour and a half or more, and reached 
Killarney at ten at night, having eaten nothing but a 
poor breakfast of spongy bread without eggs, and one 
crust of the same quality, and drank milk during the 
whole day. I reached Killarney neither tired nor ex- 
hausted after" all this. We were richly recompensed by 
a fine day, and most sublime views. We saw everything 
at and about Killarney, the bay and the glen of Glen- 
gariff (a celebrated scene not far from Bantry) included. 
With the county of Kerry I have been much pleased, 
and by some parts almost astonished. 

As to the Irish people, our mode of travelling is not 
favourable to conversing much with them ; but I make the 
most of my opportunities. Poor laws cannot, I think, be 
introduced into Ireland. There is no class to look to 
their administration, and the numbers who would have a 
claim for relief are so vast that any allowance which would 
tell for their benefit could not be raised without oppres- 
sion to those who are already possessed of some property. 
I have no more room, and the subjects before me are inex- 
haustible. Farewell. God bless you, my dear brother. 
We shall push on as fast as we can from this place. 

Affectionately yours, 

W. W. 



William Wordsworth to Alexander Dyce 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, Oct. i6, 1829. 
My dear Sir, 

On my return from Ireland, where I have been travel- 
ling a few weeks, I found your present of George Peek's 
works,^ and the obliging letter accompanying it ; for both 
of which I offer my cordial thanks. 

English literature is greatly indebted to. your labours, 
and I have much pleasure in this occasion of testifying 
my respect for the sound judgment, and conscientious 
diligence, with which you discharge your duty as an edi- 
tor. Peelers works were well deserving of the care you 
have bestowed upon them ; and, as I did not previously 
possess a copy of any part of them, the beautiful book 
which you have sent me was very acceptable. 

By accident, I learned lately that you had made a book 
of extracts, which I had long wished for opportunity and 
industry to execute myself. I am happy it has fallen into 
so much better hands. I allude to your Specimens from 
British Poetesses? I had only a glance at your work; 
but I will take this opportunity of saying, that should a 
second edition be called for, I should be pleased with the 
honour of being consulted by you about it. There is 
one poetess to whose writings I am especially partial, 
the Countess of Winchelsea. I have perused her poems 
frequently, and should be happy to name such passages 
as I think most characteristic of her genius, and most 
fit to be selected. 

1 George Peele (i 558-1 598) Elizabethan poet, actor, etc. — EA 
3 Published in 1825. — Ed. 


I know not what to say about my intended edition of 
a portion of Thomson. There appears to be some indel- 
icacy in one poet treating another in that way. The 
example is not good, though I think there are few to 
whom the process might be more advantageously applied 
than to Thomson. Yet so sensible am I of the objec- 
tion, that I should not have entertained the thought, but 
for the expectation held out to me by an acquaintance, 
that valuable materials for a new Life of Thomson might 
be procured. In this I was disappointed. . . . 

With much respect, I remain, dear sir, 

Sincerely yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Sir George Beaumont 

Whitehaven Castle, Oct. 19th. 
My dear Sir George, 

I have this moment received your obliging letter, for- 
warded to me from Rydal Mount, whither I hoped to 
have returned before this time. Unexpected delays have 
arisen, and I now fear that we shall scarcely be able to 
start in time for reaching Coleorton till the first week in 
November. But, not to shackle Lady Beaumont and 
you in the least, we will let you know the day of our 
departure when it is fixed ; and pray do not scruple to 
let us know if this unavoidable delay has rendered it 
inconvenient for you to receive us. 

In fact we have been obliged to take another house for 
the newly-married pair, the one which my son had hired, 


and which we had half furnished, being pronounced by 
the medical attendant of the Curwen family much too 
cold for her health ; which is too probable, as it is no less 
than five hundred feet above the level of the sea, to which 
it is completely exposed, and indeed to all winds. 

I long to see your little boy, and believe me, dear Sir 
George, with kindest remembrances to Lady Beaumont, 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

Dora Wordsworth to Edward Quillinan 

Rydal Mount, Nov. 14th, 1829. 

You cruel, wicked vagabondiser, nearly a fortnight 
elapsed ! and not even a line to inform us how you per- 
formed your journey, whether you escaped colds, broken 
limbs, and a thousand other perils ! We have comforted 
ourselves with " no news is good news," and expect you 
will please to let us hear from you when you have nothing 
better to do, and that happy time, it is to be hoped, will 
arrive some time before the new year comes in. As a 
punishment for your idlesse I shall inflict upon you a his- 
tory of our proceedings since you left us. Father and 
Mr. Southey started as intended in the tub for Levens in 
pouring rain ; all the old cloaks and coats in the house 
were raked up, hat covers^ etc. Father was exactly like a 
Scotch drover. Mr. Southey with his blue cloak and 
scarlet lining described to us in broken English the dan- 
gers and privations he had gone through in his retreat 
from Moscow, and laughed at our fears for the wetting 


they would get. At length they were packed and drove 
off. When their driver brought back the pony, he told 
James, " the gentlemen had had a terrible rise ! for when 
they got to Kendal, there was a carriage and four, two 
postillions, and two outriders waiting for them," and could 
you have seen the pride and delight expressed in James's 
countenance whilst telling me of this compliment paid to 
his master you would have been entertained. 

Mr. South ey was much disappointed to find you gone 
when he came downstairs. He has sent the extract 
from Evelyn about the trees, but I am sorry I cannot 
enclose it this time. Barber took it away with him the 
other morning, and has not brought it back. Dear Edith 
has done the hour-glass beautifully. I wish you could 
see it. When you next come down she says you must 
write something for her in her album. She declares she 
has a much better right to some verses than Miss Carle- 
ton. " Oh, but they were written to oblige Miss Luff," 
we all tell her. " I care not whom they were written to 
oblige, they do not oblige me," she replies, and is very 

Aunt Wordsworth I am happy to say keeps quite well, 
in spite of the wretched weather. We have had but one 
fine day since you left us. Your lover goes to White- 
haven on Tuesday. She too is well. A letter from 
Willy, who desires his very best thanks may be given 
you for your kind letter to him, and we have had another 
from "Worthy Sir" and "my spouse," as long and as 
difficult to read as either of those you were so much 
interested in. The rector does not trouble us with many 
letters. We have neither heard from him nor of him. 
So I trust his tithes, and moduses^ are gone to sleep. By 
the way, father has written to "Worthy Sir" a letter 


which he hopes will close the correspondence, saying he 
has requested a friend to convey a sovereign to him. 
This you will be kind enough not to forget to do when 
convenient. His last address is Rev. Dr. Turner, Cam- 
bridge Terrace, Edgeware Road. 

You know father says it is very difl&cult to be quite 
honest. We ladies have found it so in regard to a pair 
of beauteous scissors which I enclose. We are not ur- 
tain they are yours, and, on the plea of not knowing to 
whom they belong, would have kept them could we have 
agreed who was to appropriate them ; but as we all would 
have them it was decided they had better be sent to you, 
as this is the only way of settling the question. Lucky 
for you that ladies are such selfish creatures. Edith was 
one of the worst. 

Hartley was here the other evening. We told him 
Barber ^ was turned poet, and he should hear some of his 
verses, so we read him your poem. "Well,*' says he, 
" they are very pretty indeed, but if Barber wrote these 
lines I will be shaved dry with a rusty sickle by any bar- 
ber in Westmoreland." Poor Barber is proud indeed of 
his poem. He has it off by heart, and really repeats it 
well. Hartley has given me a copy of the Winter^s 
Wreath^ and with it such a pretty sonnet, but shockingly 
complimentary. My head will be turned by daft verses 
from daft men I am sure. 

I am ashamed of this untidy scrawl, but am writing in 
a great hurry, as the Gordon packet is waiting for me, 
and I have never once inquired after your little darlings, 
whom I trust you found well and happy as you could desire. 

1 Doubtless the Mr. Barber referred to in the Fenwick note to 
Wordsworth's Epistle to Sir George Beaumont. Mr. Quillinan wrote 
T7u Birch of Silver-How for Mr. Barber of Grasmere. — Ed. 


All send their kind love, Edith's too. The money came 
safe from Kendal. Blue bonnet's eyes did sparkle when 
I gave her your little present. 

Ever your very affectionate and faithful 

Dora Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

• Rydal Mount, December 23, 1829. 

. . . The poem you were so kind as to enclose gave 
me much pleasure, nor was it the less interesting for 
being composed upon a subject you had touched before. 
The style in this latter is more correct, and the versifica- 
tion more musical. Where there is so much of sincerity 
of feeling, in a matter so dignified as the renunciation of 
Poetry for Science, one feels that an apology is necessary 
for verbal criticism. I will therefore content myself with 
observing that joying for joy^ or joyance^ is not to my 
taste ; indeed, I object to such liberties upon principle. 
We should soon have no language at all if the unscrupu- 
lous coinage of the present day were allowed to pass, and 
become a precedent for the future. One of the first 
duties of a writer is to ask himself whether his thought, 
feeling, or image cannot be expressed by existing words 
or phrases, before he goes about creating new terms, 
even when they are justified by the analogies of the lan- 
guage. "The cataract's steep flow" is both harsh and 
inaccurate. "Thou hast seen me bend over the cata- 
ract " would express one idea in simplicity, and all that 
was required ; had it been necessary to be more particular, 


steep flow are not the words that ought to have been used. 
I remember Campbell says, in a composition that is over- 
run with faulty language, 

And dark as winter was ^^flow 
Of Iser rolling rapidly — 

that is, flowing rapidly. The expression ought to have 
been stream or current. 

Pray, thank your excellent sister for the verses which 
she so kindly intrusted to me. I have read them all 
three times over with great care, and some of them 
oftener. They abound with genuine sensibility, and do 
her much honour ; but, as I told you before, your sister 
must practise her mind in severer logic ; for example, the 
first words of the first poem, "Thou most companionless!^ 
In strict logic, " being companionless " is a positive con- 
dition not admitting of more or less, though in poetic 
feeling it is true that the sense of it is deeper as to one 
object than to another ; and the day moon is an object 
eminently calculated for impressing certain minds with 
that feeling. Therefore the expression is not faulty in 
itself absolutely, but faulty in its position, coming with- 
out preparation ; and therefore causing a shock between 
the common-sense of the words, and the impassioned 
imagination of the speaker. This may appear to you 
frigid criticism, but, depend upon it, no writings will live 
in which these rules are disregarded. In the next line, 

Walking the blue but foreign fields of day, 

the meaning here is walking blue fields which, though 
common to see in our observation by night, are not so by 
day, even to accurate observers. Here, too, the thought 


is just ; but again there is an abruptness ; the distinction 
is too nice, or refined, for the second line of a poem. 

" Weariness of that gold sphere." Silver is frequently 
used as an adjective by our poets ; gold^ as I should sup- 
pose, very rarely, unless it may be in dramatic poetry, 
where the same delicacies are not indispensable. " Gold 
watch," "gold bracelet," etc., are shop language. "Gold 
sphere " is harsh in sound, particularly at the close of a 
line. " Faint, as if weary of my golden sphere," would 
please me better. " Greets thy rays^ You do not greet 
the ray by daylight ; you greet the moon; there is no ray. 
^^DsLung^ight" is wrong; the moon, under no m3^hol- 
ogy that I am acquainted with, is represented with wings ; 
and though on a stormy night, when clouds are driving 
rapidly along, the word might be applied to her apparent 
motion, it is not so here. Therefore " flight " is here used 
for unusual or unexpected ascent, a sense, in my judg- 
ment, that cannot be admitted. The slow motion by 
which this ascent is gained is at variance with the word. 
The rest of this stanza is very pleasing, with the excep- 
tion of one word — " thy nature's breast ." Say " profane 
thy nature"; how much simpler and better! "Breast" 
is a sacrifice to rhyme, and is harsh in expression. We 
have had the brow and the eye of the moon before, both 
allowable ; but what have we reserved for human beings, 
if their features and organs etc., are to be lavished on 
objects without feeling and intelligence } You will, per- 
haps, think this observation comes with an ill grace from 
one who is aware that he has tempted many of his admir- 
ers into abuses of this kind ; yet, I assure you, I have 
never given way to my own feelings in personifying nat- 
ural objects, or investing them with sensation, without 
bringing all that I have said to a rigorous after-test of 


good sense, as far as I was able to determine what 
good sense is. Your sister will judge, from my being so 
minute, that I have been much interested in her poetical 
efforts. This very poem highly delighted me ; the senti- 
ment meets with my entire approbation, and it is feel- 
ingly and poetically treated. Female authorship is to be 
shunned as bringing in its train more and heavier evils 
than have presented themselves to your sister's ingenu- 
ous mind. No true friend, I am sure, will endeavour to 
shake her resolution to remain in her own quiet and 
healthful obscurity. This is not said with a view to dis- 
courage her from writing, nor have the remarks made 
above any aim of the kind ; they are rather intended to 
assist her in writing with more permanent satisfaction 
to herself. She will probably write less in proportion as 
she subjects her feelings to logical forms, but the range 
of her sensibilities, so far from being narrowed, will 
extend as she improves in the habit of looking at things 
through the steady light of words ; and, to speak a little 
metaphysically, words are not a mere vehicle^ but they are 
powers either to kill or to animate. 

I shall be truly happy to receive at your leisure the 
prose MSS. which you promised me. I shall write to 
Mr. F. Mgeworth in a few days. I cannot conclude 
without reminding you of your promise to bring your sis- 
ter to see us next summer ; we will then talk over the 
poems at leisure. 

Yours most sincerely, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Francis Beaufort Edgeworth 


... As you were so much struck with the yew-tree at 
Mucross, do not fail, if ever you come near Askeaton, to 
visit the ruins of its abbey, where you will find a much 
finer cloister, with a tree standing exactly in the centre 
as at Mucross. The tree is infinitely inferior to that of 
Mucross in gloomy grandeur, but the whole effect being 
of the same kind, the impression on my mind at Mucross 
was not so deep as it would have been if I had not seen 
Askeaton before. 

The faults I found with Killarney were, the bog be- 
tween the town and the lake, the long tame ridge which 
you complain of, the want of groves and timber trees, 
though there is a prodigality of wood, the heavy shape of 
the highest hill, Mangerton, and the unluckiness of Car- 
rantuohill being so placed as only to combine with the 
lake from its tamest parts. Your objection to the rocky 
knolls in the upper lake, as savouring of conceits in 
Nature, is a sensation of your own, which it would be 
absurd to reason against. I did not feel it when on the 
spot, nor can I admit it now. • • • 



William Wordsworth to Catherine Grace Godwin^ 

[1829, probably.] 
Dear Madam, 

I have been long in your debt, so long that I regret 
jiot having written my acknowledgment on the day I 
received your book. This would have been done, but I 
felt there would be little value in such a return for the 
mark of respect you have paid me ; and I relied on your 
candid interpretation of any delay that might take place. 
I wished to read your volume carefully through before 
you heard from me. I have done so, and with much 
pleasure. Wherever it is read, such poetry cannot but 
do you honour. It is neither wanting in feeling, nor in 
that much rarer gift which is the soul of poetry, — imagina- 
tion. There is a great command of language also., and 
occasionally fine versification ; but here, and in some 
other points of workmanship, you are most defective, 
especially in the blank verse. Am I right in supposing 
that several of these pieces have been written at different 
periods of life? The Wanderer^ for example, though 
full of varied interest, appears to me, in point of versifi- 
cation, and in some respects of style, much inferior to 
Destiny^ a, very striking poem. This, and the Monk oj 
Camaldoli^ are, in my judgment, the best executed pieces 
in the volume. Both evince extraordinary powers. 

The fault of your blank verse is, that it is not suffi- 
ciently broken. You are aware that it is infinitely the 

1 Mrs. Catherine Grace Godwin (i 798-1 845), poetess, author of 
The Wanderer's Legacy (1829), Poetical Works (1854). Mr. and 
Mrs. Godwin lived at Barbon, near Kirkby-Lonsdale, from 1824 
onward. — Ed. 


most difficult metre to manage, as is clear from so few 
having succeeded in it. The Spenserian stanza is a fine 
structure of verse; but it is also almost insurmountably 
difficult. You have succeeded in the broken and more 
impassioned movement, — of which Lord Byron has given 
good instances, — but it is a form of verse ill adapted to 
conflicting passion ; and it is not injustice to say that 
the stanza is spoiled in Lord Byron's hands; his own 
strong and ungovernable passions blinded him as to its 
character. It is equally unfit for narrative. Circum- 
stances are difficult to manage in any kind of verse, except 
the dramatic, where the warmth of the action makes the 
reader indifferent to those delicacies of phrase and sound 
upon which so much of the charm of other poetry depends. 
If you write more in this stanza, leave Lord Byron for 
Spenser. In him the stanza is seen in its perfection. It 
is exquisitely harmonious also in Thomson's hands, and 
fine in Beattie's Minstrel; but these two latter poems 
are merely descriptive and sentimental; and you will 
observe that Spenser never gives way to violent and con- 
flicting passion, and that his narrative is bare of circum- 
stances, slow in movement, and (for modern relish) too 
much clogged with description. Excuse my dwelling so 
much on this dry subject ; but as you have succeeded so 
well in the arrangement of this metre, perhaps you will 
not be sorry to hear my opinion of its character. One 
great objection to it (an insurmountable one, I think, for 
circumstantial narrative) is the poverty of our language 
in rhymes. 

But to recur to your volume. I was everywhere more 
or less interested in it. Upon the whole, I think I like 
best Destiny^ and the Monk, but mainly for the reasons 
above given. TTie Wanderer's Legacy, being upon a 


large scale and so true to your own feelings, has left a 
lively impression upon my mind ; and a moral purpose is 
answered, by exhibiting youthful love under such illusion 
with regard to the real value of its object. The Seal 
Hunters is an affecting poem, but I think you linger too 
long on the prelusive description. I could speak with 
pleasure of many other pieces, so that you have do 
grounds for the apprehensions you express, as far, at 
least, as I am concerned. 

As most likely the beauties of this country will tempt 
you and Mr. Godwin to return to it, I need not say that 
I should be happy to renew my acquaintance with you 
both ; and I should with pleasure avail myself of that 
opportunity to point out certain minutiae of phrase in 
your volume, where you have been misled by bad exam- 
ple, especially of the Scotch. The popularity of some of 
their writings has done no little harm to the English lan- 
guage, for the present at least. 

Believe me, etc., 

W. Wordsworth. 




William Wordsworth to Charles Lamb 

Sunday, Jan. 10, 1830. 
My dear Lamb, 

A whole twelve-months have I been a letter in your 
debt. I have been sufficiently punished by self-reproach. 

I liked your play^ marvellously, having no objection to 
it but one which strikes me as applicable to a large major- 
ity of plays, those of Shakespeare himself not entirely 
excepted; I mean a little degradation of character for a 
more dramatic turn of plot. Your present of Hone's 
book ^ was very acceptable, and so much so that your gift 
of the book is the cause why I did not write long ago. I 
wished to enter a little minutely into a notice of the dra- 
matic extracts, and on account of the smallness of the 
print deferred doing so till longer days would allow me to 
read without candle light, which I have long since given 
up. But alas ! when the days lengthened, my eyesight 
departed ; and for many months I could not read three 

1 Probably The Wife's Trial; or the Intruding Widow : A 
Dramatic Poem (1827). This play was sent by Lamb to Charles 
Kemble at Covent Garden in August, 1827, but was not accepted. 
See The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb^ edited by E. V. Lucas, 
Vol. V, " Poems and Plays." — Ed. 

3 Doubtless bis Table Book (1828). — Ed. 


minutes at a time. You will be sorry to hear that this 
infirmity still hangs about me, and cuts me off from read- 
ing almost altogether. 

But how are you ? And how is your dear sister ? I long 
much, as we all do, to know. For ourselves this last 
year, owing to my sister's dangerous illness — the effects 
of which are not yet got over — has been an anxious one 
and melancholy. But no more of this. My sister has 
probably told you everything about this family, so that I 
may conclude with less scruple by assuring you of my 
sincere and faithful affection for you, and your dear sister. 

W. Wordsworth. 

My son takes this to London. 

[To the above letter Dorothy Wordsworth added the 

following : — ] 

Sunday, loth. 

My brother has given me this to enclose with my own. 
His account of me is far too doleful. I am, I assure you, 
perfectly well ; and it is only in order to become strong, 
as heretofore, that I confine myself mainly to the house ; 
and yet, were I to trust my feelings merely, I would say 
that I am strong already. His eyes, alas ! are very weak, 
and so will, I fear, remain through life, but with proper 
care he does not suffer much. 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Rydal Mount, Wednesday. 
My Lord, 

. . . There is one point also delicate to touch upon and 

hazardous to deal with, but of prime importance in this 


crisis. The question, as under the conduct of the present 
ministers, is closely connecting itself with religion. Now 
after all, if we are to be preserved from utter confusion, it 
is religion and morals, and conscience, which must do the 
work. The religious part of the community, especially 
those attached to the Church of England, must and do feel 
that neither the Church as an establishment, nor its points 
of faith as a church, nor Christianity itself as governed 
by Scripture, ought to be left long, if it can be prevented, 
in the hands which manage our affairs. 

But I am running into unpardonable length. I took up 
the pen principally to express a hope that your Lordship 
may have continued to see the question in the light which 
affords the only chance of preserving the nation from 
several generations, perhaps, of confusion and crime and 

Elxcuse the liberty I have taken, and believe me most 

^^ ^' Your Lordship's much obliged 

W. Wordsworth. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to William Pearson 

My dear Sir, Rydal Mount, 25th March, [1830]. 

... My brother was much interested by the informa- 
tion you had gathered from your vagrant neighbours, the 
gipsies ; so was I, and every member of this family, and 
we sincerely thank you for it, and for the .readiness with 
which you complied with my brother's wishes. He in- 
tends, if you have no objection, to send the account to 
be inserted in the Naturalists^ Magazine^ if the matter be 
thought new or sufficiently important. To us, as I have 
said, it was very interesting. 


. . . My niece has been with Miss Southey a fortnight 
at Keswick, and, if weather permit, her brother purposes 
riding over to Keswick from Moresby to-morrow, to con- 
duct her back with him ; and he hopes for her company 
during a whole month, a great loss to the father at 
homel • • • 

Believe me, dear sir. 

Yours sincerely, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Basil Montagu 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, 

My dear Montagu, ^ ^ * 

I ought to have thanked you long ago for the twelfth 
volume of Lord Bacon, which I received through John ; 
and also for your little treatise on Laughter, which has 
amused me much. You have rendered good service to 
the public by this edition of the works of one of the 
greatest men the world has produced. I wish I had 
been younger to make a more worthy use of so valuable 
a present. Let me ask whether it would not have been 
better to print the letters — of which the last volume con- 
sists — not as you have done, but in chronological order, 
only taking care to note from what collection the several 
letters were taken ? I should certainly have much pre- 
ferred that arrangement, so would Soutiiey ; but perhaps 
you have reasons for this plan which do not strike me. 
With many thanks, I remain, dear M., 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to John Gardner 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, 

5th April, 1830. 
Dear Sir, 

I admire the delicacy with which you decline purchas- 
ing this work^ to my injury. These piracies do no credit 
to the Parisian publisher. As far as relates to the Con- 
tinent, I am rather glad of this practice, but surely it is 
unfair to authors to be deprived of such benefit as 
they might draw from the sale of their works among their 
own countrymen and in their native land; the more so 
when the short duration of copyright, as allowed by our 
law, is considered. That law at present acts as a pre- 
mium upon mediocracy, by tempting authors to aim only 
at immediate effect. 

Some years ago I named to my publishers my wish to 
try a cheaper edition, such as you recommend, but I was 
assured by them that the return of profit to myself would 
be little or nothing. Readers, I am aware, have since 
increased much and are daily increasing. Perhaps also 
my own powers are gaining ground upon the public ; but 
you cannot have failed to observe what pains are taken 
in many quarters to obstruct their circulation and to 
lower their character. Be it so, you would probably say ; 
and that is a still stronger reason for their author putting 
them in the way of being more generally known. The 
misrepresentations — whether arising from incapacity, 
presumption, envy, or personal malice — would be best 
refuted by the books becoming as accessible as may be. 

^ The Galignani edition of his poems. — £d. 


I trust that it would be so ; but still, having neither 
inherited a fortune, nor having been a maker of money, 
and being now advanced in life with a family to survive me, 
I cannot be indifferent to the otherwise base consid- 
eration of some pecuniary gain. 

The edition you possess of 1827 is getting low, and a 
new one will probably be called for ere long. My inten- 
tion at present is to reprint the whole, pretty much in the 
same form, only I shall print two sonnets in a page, a 
greater number of lines also, and exclude all blank pages 
(called, I believe, by the printers "fat"); and, in this case, 
I hope to reduce the price of the work, and perhaps to 
compress it into four volumes, though there will be a 
good deal of additional matter. This, however, will be 
printed separately also to accommodate the purchasers 
of the former editions.^ . , . 

William Wordsworth to George Huntly Gordon 

Rydal Mount, April 6, 1830. 
My dear Mr. Gordon, 

You are kind in noticing with thanks my rambling notes.* 

We have had here a few days of delicious summer 

weather. It appeared with the suddenness of a pantomimic 

1 This letter was meant to be shown to the Longmans by Gard- 
ner, as Wordsworth adds that if he (Gardner) " thought it worth 
while to call on them, this letter would be your introduction. State 
your wishes and your reasons, and hear what they have to say. If 
your proposal could be reconciled with a reasonable emolument to 
myself, it would gratify me to adopt it. . . . Is it not your proposal 
that there should be two editions of different sizes ? " — Ed. 

2 On a proposed tour. — Christopher Wordsworth. 


trick, stayed longer than we had a right to expect, and 
was as rapidly succeeded by high wind, bitter cold, and 
winter snow over hill and dale. 

I am not surprised that you are so well pleased with 
Mr. Quillinan. The more you see of him the better you 
will like him. You ask what are my employments. Ac- 
cording to Dr. Johnson they are such as entitle me to 
high commendation, for I am not only making two blades 
of grass grow where only one grew before, but a dozen. 
In plain language, I am draining a bit of spongy ground.^ 
In the field where this goes on I am making a green ter- 
race that commands a beautiful view of our two lakes, 
Rydal and Windermere, and more than two miles of inter- 
vening vale, with the stream visible by glimpses flowing 
through it. I shall have great pleasure in showing you 
this among the other returns which I hope one day to 
make for your kindness. Adieu, 


W. W. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, AprU 22d, 1830. 
My dear Friend, 

Your scrap of a letter gave us more satisfaction than I 

can express ; but I assure you we had much rather you 

had given us a real letter bearing the postmark of the 

Eternal City. ... I will begin with a sober review of 

the autumn and winter, as they have passed away with us 

in our quiet home ; leaving all public and general matters 

to the newspapers, which no doubt you read more regularly 

1 In Dora's field. — Ed. 



than we do. I think you left England about the time 
of John's exchanging his Leicestershire curacy for the 
small rectory of Moresby in Cumberland. We left Whit- 
wick with regret, but have now many reasons for rejoic- 
ing in the change; and but three weeks after parting 
with our kind friend Lady Beaumont, her sudden death 
tended to reconcile us, for without her Coleorton and 
Whitwick would not have been the same places they 
used to be. An unusually severe winter, and low wages, 
and want of work in the stocking factory on which Whit- 
wick depends, in a few months completely reconciled us 
to our removal from a place where poverty and distress, 
which we could not effectually relieve, would have daily 
met our eyes. John is very happy at Moresby, in a small 
parish, yet sufficiently peopled both by poor and rich 
to require and call forth constant moderate exertion, 
without that depressing accompanying conviction that all 
we can do is of no avail for permanent relief. John's 
income is not much larger than at Whitwick, but he is a 
richer man, and is comfortably habited in lodgings where 
he can at any time receive one or two of us. His mother 
spent three weeks with him in the winter, and Dora is 
now his companion and will remain till fetched home by 
her father, who is in sad want of her. But he willingly 
submits, the young people being so very happy, and her 
health improving with sea air and horse exercise with her 
brother. They have each a pony. . . . With an inex- 
haustible stock of lively spirits and of activity within 
doors, she is utterly unable to follow the example of her 
mother's youth, and mine, in walking. 

The family summer plans are not yet fixed, but I think 
the father and daughter will be tripping off to Cambridge 
before the commencement, and perhaps my sister may 


visit her own relations in the county of Durham at the 
same time. As for me, it seems to be decreed that I 
must stay at home, and surely it is no punishment to be 
confined to this beautiful spot. I have been enacting the 
invalid ever since the month of November, though in 
truth I have had no ailment since the beginning of Janu- 
ary. Whenever the weather has been tolerable I have 
gone out in the pony-chaise or walked, but not farther 
than the terrace. Since the trees began to bud I have 
extended my walks a little further. In compliance with 
the judgment and advice of those who, I suppose, are 
much better judges of what is safe than I am myself, I 
shall continue to use similar caution during the whole of 
next summer and the following winter, if I live so long ; 
and after that time I hope I may be safely trusted to my 
own feelings as a guide in ascertaining the measure of 
my strength. In the meantime it is certainly my duty to 
submit to be guided by those who have already suffered 
so much anxiety on my account, and there is no hardship 
in it ; for this different tnode of life has no effect what- 
ever upon my spirits, and certainly it has agreed with my 
health. It was a sad illness I had at Whitwick, and 
again I was very ill at Halifax, whence I came to Rydal 
the first week of September, and since have not slept one 
night from home. 

My brother has enjoyed his accustomed good health, 
and, though he passed his sixtieth birthday on the seventh 
of this month, is really as active, and in as good walking 
plight, as when we crossed the Alps in 1820. My sister, 
too, retains her strength and activity wonderfully. Dora 
longs to go to Rome ; the father would dearly like it, the 
mother would fall into any plans that could reasonably 
be formed for such a purpose, and as for me, I thir*: I 



should lack none of the zeal which would have accom- 
panied me thither twenty years ago ; but we say not much 
about it. We are past the scheming age (except Dora), 
and there seem to be so many obstacles that I cannot 
think we shall ever accomplish a journey of such magni- 
tude ; and, indeed, whenever I venture upon a '^ish^ it 
carries me no farther than dear Switzerland. But who 
knows what circumstances may do for us ! When you 
come home you will so rouse and inspire my brother's 
aged heart by his own fireside that strange schemes may 
arise, and all be realized with as much ease as our journey 
of 1820 ! . . . My brother has laid his poetry aside for 
two or three months. He has enough of new matter for a 
small volume, which we wish him to publish ; but I think 
he will not, he so dislikes publishing. A new edition of 
his poems will soon be called for. He has lately been 
busied, day after day, out of doors, among workmen 
who are making us another new and most delightful ter- 
race. I hope you will soon come and walk upon it, so I 
shall not describe it. 

This leads my thoughts to the woful state of money 
and the " money market." Every year we grow poorer, 
interest so low, rents not paid, etc ! But, .in this happy 
remote corner, little do we see of what is endured among 
the lower orders ; though we see and know that all who 
are of our own condition experience a terrible change. 
Mr. Owen^ is instructing the Londoners in "the science 
of society," and he is to point out a remedy. The Parlia- 
ment folks seem to be quite easy in the discovery that 
they can do nothing. It seems the emigrations are numer- 
ous both from the manufacturing and farming districts. 

1 Robert Owen (1771-1858) founder of English socialism, author 
of A New View of Society ^ etc. — Ed. 


The latter are in an untilled state. Mrs. Hutchinson 
writes that prices are so low, and poor rates so heavy, 
she knows not what will become of them in a few years. 
They have long had to pay rents from their stock property. 

We have had one most delightful letter from Charles 
and Mary Lamb since you left England. She writes as 
if very happy and contented in being released from house- 
keeping cares, and gives on the whole a good account of 
her brother, though from his own letter (written with 
quiet spirit and humour) we could hardly know whether 
he was oppressed by being hurried out of his usual course 
or not. S. T. Coleridge continues to live at Highgate as 
usual, attacked by occasional fits of sharp illness, but 
always, to a certain point, recovering from them ; and, I 
believe, he is publishing some new work upon the old 
abstruse subjects.^ His daughter is happily settled near 
him in London, but they cannot see much of each other. 
To walk is impossible, and to be otherwise conveyed far 
too expensive for the wife of a young lawyer who has his 
fortune to make. Mrs. Coleridge is with her son Der- 
went, who does well in his curacy and school. Hartley 
is at Grasmere, writing now and then for Blackwood and 
the annuals ; and, when he has money in his pocket, 
wandering off nobody knows whither. Miss Hutchinson 
is with the Southeys. Southey was off work, but is better, 
and busy as ever. What he does is wonderful. He was 
was much affected by the death of his brother's wife, 
Mrs. Dr. Southey. 

We have good news of William from Bremen ; but his 
health, in common with that of all Mr. Papendich's 
family, suffered much from the severity of the winter. 
William was an eyewitness of the loss of lives and 

1 See letter of May 5th, 1830, to William Pearson. — Ed. 


houses from flood when the ice broke. He seems to 
be much beloved in Mr. P.'s family, and is exceedingly 
attached to them. . . . No doubt you have seen our 
nephew Christopher's name at the top of his Classical 
Tripos. The first classical medal has since been ad- 
judged to him. The Master of Trinity enjoys better 
health than a year or two ago. I hope, my dear friend, 
that you receive comfortable letters iErom your brother. 
I was much concerned to hear of the death of your 
nephew's son, both for his sake, and his father's, and 
yours. This is a poor letter to travel so far ; but I know 
you will be glad to hear of us and to receive our assur- 
ances of affectionate remembrance, in which we three 
(the only ones at home) do heartily join. . . . Adieu, my 
dear friend. Believe me ever. 

Yours affectionately, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 

We have had a very wet and mostly cold spring after 
an unrelenting winter. How is it with you ? Our shrubs 
are budding, larches green, but the trees very backward, 
and the soil is so soddened with wet that even the flowers 
look comfortless. 

D. W. 

William Wordsworth to Christopher Wordsworth 

Rydal Mount, April 27, 1830. 
My dear Brother, 

Was Mr. Rose's course of sermons upon education? 

The more I reflect upon the subject, the more I am 

convinced that positive instruction, even of a religious 


character, is much overrated. The education of man, and 
above all of a Christian, is the education of dutyy which 
is most forcibly taught by the business and concerns of 
life ; of which, even for children — especially the children 
of the poor — book learning is but a small part. There 
is an officious disposition on the part of the upper and 
middle classes to precipitate the tendency of the people 
towards intellectual culture in a manner subversive of 
their own happiness, and dangerous to the peace of soci- 
ety. It is mournful to observe of how little avail are 
lessons of piety taught at school, if household attentions 
and obligations be neglected in consequence of the time 
taken up in school tuition; and if the head be stuffed 
with vanity, from the gentlemanliness of the employment 
of reading. Farewell. 

W. W. 


Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Begun many days ago, ended 27th April, [1830.] 

. . . My brother, though he passed his sixtieth birth- 
day on the seventh of this month, is as good a walker as 
most of the best young ones of twenty, and is not much 
inferior to what he was himself at that age. . . . The 
last letters from William brought a good account of his 
health. He is very happy. Mr. Papendich speaks very 
favourably of him in all respects, but seems well aware of 
his peculiar delicacy of constitution, and therefore of the 
absolute necessity of regular exercise out of doors, espe- 
cially on horseback. . . . Sarah H. is at Keswick. We 
had some hope of the Southeys becoming our neighbours ; 
but they have renewed the lease of their present house. 


and really I am disinterested enough to be glad, as, 
though wishing to be near us, they dreaded a removal. 
Poor Mrs. Coleridge ! we miss her very much out of the 
country, though we saw little of her. She regrets what 
she has lost bitterly, yet is well pleased with her daugh- j 
ter-in-law, and has great comfort in Derwent ; but, at her 
age, it is a great change. . . . What, however, is worst 
of all is Hartley's hopeless state. We had provided good 
lodgings for him. He had no one want, was liked by the 
people of the house, and for seven weeks was steady and 
industrious. Money came to repay him for his work, and 
what does he do ? Instead of discharging just debts, he 
pays a score off at a public house, and with eight sover- 
eigns in his pocket takes off, is now wandering some- 
where, and will go on wandering till some charitable 
person leads the vagrant home. We have only heard of 
his lodging at first at different inns — this no doubt while 
the money lasted — and since of his having been seen 
on the roads, and having lodged in this bam or that. It 
has been my sad office to report to his poor mother of his 
doings, but my late reports have been of a cheering kind. 
I now dread the task that is before me. I shall not, how- 
ever, write till he is again housed with the charitable 
matron who is willing again to receive him. You will 
perhaps say, my dear friend, " Why do you not rouse the 
country, and send after him ? " . . . 

Yours affectionately, 

D. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Alexander Dyce 

May, 1830. 

I am truly obliged, my dear sir, by your valuable pres- 
ent of Webster's Dramatic Works and the Specimens} 
Your publisher was right in insisting upon the whole of 
Webster, otherwise the book might have been superseded, 
either by an entire edition separately given to the world, 
or in some corpus of the dramatic writers. The poetic 
genius of England, with the exception of Chaucer, Spen- 
ser, Milton, Dryden, Pope, and a very few more, is to be 
sought in her drama. How it grieves one that there is 
so little probability of those valuable authors being read 
except by the curious ! I questioned my friend Charles 
Lamb whether it would answer for some person of real 
taste to undertake abridging the plays that are not likely 
to be read as wholes, and telling such parts of the story 
in brief abstract as were ill managed in the drama. He 
thought it would not. I, however, am inclined to think 
it would. 

The account of your indisposition gives me much con- 
cern. It pleases me, however, to see that, though you 
may suffer, your industry does not relax; and I hope 
that your pursuits are rather friendly than injurious to 
your health. 

You are quite correct in your notice of my obligation 
to Dr. Darwin.^ In the first edition of the poem it was 
acknowledged in a note, which slipped out of its place in 

^ Specimens of British Poetesses. — A. Dyce. 
3 See the poem To Enterprise^ 11. 11 4- 11 6, first published in 
1822. — Ed. 


the last, along with some others. In putting together 
that edition I was obliged to cut up several copies; 
and as several of the poems also changed their places, 
some confusion and omission, and, in one instance, a 
repetition, was the consequence; nothing, however, so 
bad as in the edition of 1820, where a long poem. The 
Lament of Mary Queen of Scots, was by mistake altogether 
omitted. Another unpleasantness arose from the same 
cause ; for, in some instances, notwithstanding repeated 
charges to the printer, you have only two Spenserian 
stanzas in a page (I speak now of the last edition) 
instead of three ; and there is the same irregularity in 
printing other forms of stanzas. 

You must indeed have been fond of that ponderous 
quarto. The Excursion, to lug it about as you did.^ In 
the edition of 1827 it was diligently revised, and the 
sense — in several instances — got into less room ; yet 
still it is a long poem for these feeble and fastidious 
times. You would honour me much by accepting a copy 
of my poetical works ; but I think it better to defer 
offering it to you till a new edition is called for, which will 
be ere long, as I understand the present is getting low. 

A word or two about Collins. You know what impor- 
tance I attach to following strictly the last copy of the 
text of an author ; and I do not blanie you for printing 
in the Ode to Evening " brawling " spring ; but surely 
the epithet is most unsuitable to the time, the very 
worst, I think, that could have been chosen. 

I now come to Lady Winchelsea. First, however, let 
me say a few words upon one or two other authoresses 

^ I had mentioned to Mr. W. that when I had a curacy m Corn- 
wall I used frequently to carry The Excursion down to the sea-shore, 
and read it there. — A. Dyce. 



in your Specimens, British poetesses make but a poor 
figure in the Poems by Eminent Ladies} But observing 
how injudicious that selection is in the case of Lady 
Winchelsea, and of Mrs. Aphra Behn^ (from whose 
attempts they are miserably copious), I have thought 
something better might have been chosen by more com- 
petent persons who had access to the volumes of the 
several writers. In selecting from Mrs. Pilkington, I 
regret that you omitted (look at page 255) Sorrow^ or at 
least that you did not abridge it. The first and third 
paragraph are very affecting. See also Expostulation^ 
page 258 ; it reminds me strongly of one of the "Penitential 
Hymns " of Burns. The few lines upon St. John the 
Baptist, by Mrs. Killigrew (Vol. II, p. 6), are pleasing. 
A beautiful elegy of Miss Warton (sister to the poets 
of that name*) upon the death of her father has escaped 
your notice ; nor can I refer you to it. Has the Duchess 
of Newcastle written much verse ? * Her Life of her lord, 
and the extracts in your book, and in the Eminent Ladies, 
are all that I have seen of hers. The Mirth and Melan- 
choly has so many fine strokes of imagination that I 
cannot but think there must be merit in many parts of her 
writings. How beautiful those lines, from "I dwell in 
groves," to the conclusion, "Yet better loved, the more 
that I am known," excepting the four verses after " Walk 
up the hills." And surely the latter verse of the couplet. 

The tolling bell which for the dead rings out ; 
A mill where rushing waters run about ; 

1 Published in two volumes, 1755. — ^^* 

* Poetess, novelist, translator (1640 — 1689). — Ed. 

* Joseph Warton, 1722-1800. Thomas Warton, 1728-1790. — Ed. 

* Poems and Fancies (1653). She and her husband together wrote 
twelve volumes folio, containing plays, poems, essays, etc. — Ed. 



is very noticeable: no person could have hit upon that 
union of images without being possessed of true poetic 
feeling. Could you tell me anything of Lady Mary 
Wortley Montagu more than is to be learned from Pope's 
letters and her own ? She seems to have been destined 
for something much higher and better than she became. 
A parallel between her genius and character and that 
of Lady Winchelsea her contemporary (though somewhat 
prior to her) would be well worth drawing. 

And now at last for the poems of Lady Winchelsea. 
I will transcribe a note from a blank leaf of my owi\ 
edition, written by me before I saw the scanty notice of 
her in Walpole. (By-the-bye, that book has always dis- 
appointed me, when I have consulted it upon any par- 
ticular occasion.) The note runs thus : " The Fragment^ 
page 280, seems to prove that she was attached to James 
Second, as does page 42, and that she suffered by the 
Revolution. The most celebrated of these poems, but far 
from the best, is The Splem, The Petition for an Absolute 
Retreat and A Nocturnal Reverie are of much superior 
merit. See also for favourable specimens, page 156, On 
the Death of Mr, Thynne; page 263 ; and Fragment^ page 
280. The fable of Love^ Deaths and Reputation^ page 29, 
is ingeniously told." Thus far my own note. I will now 
be more particular. Page 3, "Our vanity," etc., and page 
163 are noticeable as giving some account from herself 
of her authorship. See also page 148, where she alludes 
to The Spleen, She was unlucky in her models, Pindaric 
odes and French fables. But see page 70, 754^ Blindness 

1 This was written by Wordsworth on the fly-leaf of Miscellany 
PoemSf on Several Occasions. Written by a Lady [Anne Kingsmillt 
afterwards Countess of Winchelsea]. London, 17 13. He incoipo* 
rated it in a subsequent letter to Dyce. 


of JSiymaSj for proof that she could write with powers of 
a high order when her own individual character and per- 
sonal feelings were not concerned. For less striking 
proofs of this power, see page 4, All is Vanity^ omitting 
verses five and six, and reading '* clouds that are lost 
and gone," etc. There is merit in the next two stanzas ; 
and the last stanza towards the close contains a fine reproof 
of the ostentation of Louis XIV, and one magnificent verse, 

Spent the astonished hours, forgetful to adore. 

But my paper is nearly out. As far as "For my gar- 
ments," page 36, the poem is charming ; it then falls off, 
but revives at page 39, "Give me there"; page 41, etc., 
reminds me of Dyer's Gongar HifL It revives on page 47, 
towards the bottom, and concludes with sentiments worthy 
of the writer, though not quite so happily expressed as in 
other parts of the poem. See pages 82, 92, "Whilst in the 
Muses' paths I stray," page 113. The Cautious Lovers^ 
page 1 18, has little poetic merit, but is worth reading as 
characteristic of the author. See also page 143, Birthday 
of Lady Catherine Lupton^ " Deep lines of honour," etc., 
to " maturer age." Page 1 5 1 ,^ if shortened, would be strik- 
^^%\ P2ig®i54^ IS characteristic; page 159, from "Mean- 
while ye living parents," to the close, omitting " Nor could 
we hope," and the five following verses; also page 217, 
In Praise of Writing Letters^ last paragraph, and page 259,* 
that you have.* Also pages 262,* 263 ;* and page 280. 

1 Here a new poem, entitled The Change, begins. — Ed. 

2 Here another poem, entitled Enquiry after Peace, begins. — Ed. 

• The poem entitled Life's Progress, — Ed. 

* Dyce writes, " Wordsworth means that I have inserted that 
poem in my Specimens of British Poetesses. — Ed. 

* The poem named Hope, — Ed. 

• The poem called Moral Songs, — Ed. 


Was Lady Winchelsea a Roman Catholic ? Page 290, The 
Tree, "And to the clouds proclaim thy fall?": on page 
2^1, A Nocturnal Reverie, omit "When scattered glow- 
worms," and the next couplet. I have no more room.^ 

Ever faithfully yours, 

W. W. 


William Wordsworth to George Huntly Gordon 

My dear Mr. Gordon, 

... I cannot but deeply regret that the late King of 
France and his ministers should have been so infatuated. 
Their stupidity, not to say their crimes, has given an im- 
pulse to the revolutionary and democratic spirit through- 
out Europe which is premature, and from which much 
immediate evil may be apprehended, whatever things may 
settle into at last. Whereas, had the government con- 
formed to the increasing knowledge of the people, and 
not surrendered itself to the counsels of the priests and 
the bigoted royalists, things might have been kept in 
an even course to the mutual improvement and benefit of 
both governed and governors. 

In France incompatible things are aimed at, — a mon- 
archy and democracy to be united without an interven- 
ing aristocracy to constitute a graduated scale of power 
and influence. I cannot conceive how an hereditary 
monarchy can exist without an hereditary peerage in a 
country so large as France, nor how either can maintain 

1 This letter, and the one copied on the first pages of Lady 
Winchelsea's poems by Dyce, is scarcely intelligible, if the volume 
of poems is not consulted. — Ed. 


its ground if the law of the Napoleon code, compelling 
equal division of property by will, be not repealed. And 
I understand that a vast majority of the French are 
decidedly adverse to the repeal of that law, which, I 
cannot but think, will ere long be found injurious both 
to France and, in its collateral effects, to the rest of 

Ever, dear Mr. Gordon, 

Cordially and faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to William Pearson ^ 

Rydal Mount, May 5 th, 1830. 
My dear Sir, 

My brother would have had great pleasure in lending 
you Mr. Coleridge's new work,^ had he possessed it. I 
am sorry to say he does not ; nor has Mr. Hartley Cole- 
ridge yet received it. I hope the book may find its way 
hither in course of time, and then you will have an oppor- 
tunity of reading it ; so pray do not put yourself to the 
expense of buying. Much as I wish for the prosperity 
and sale of my friend's writings, I should be very sorry 
to hear that you were a purchaser. 

My brother intends sending The Hedgehog to the 
Naturalists' Magazine, and probably, I should think, 

1 Of Borderow, Crosthwaite ; ex-banker, student of literature, and 
naturalist. — £d. 

2 Doubtless On the Constitution of the Church and State^ accord- 
ing to the idea of each ; with aid toward a right judgment on the IcUe 
Catholic BilL — Ed. 


with a few words from himself. After it has appeared 
there, it might be extracted for the Kendal papers, but 
better not insert there first. This reminds me, that when 
I wrote to you, and also when I saw you, I forgot to ask 
(as I had intended doing) for a sight of the little poem, 
which you said you had written, on behalf of that poor, 
injured creature, many years ago. I hope you will not 
refuse to let us see it, however much you may be dissat- 
isfied with your performance. 

My brother intends joining his son and daughter at 
Moresby before the end of this week ; and as he purposes 
to remain with them a fortnight, you had better defer 
your visit a little while. . . . 

The new terrace will be finished t.o-morrow, much to 
our satisfaction. It is a beautiful walk, and we hope the 
draining will be found complete. We have much enjoyed 
the late fine weather, living almost the day through in the 
open air. 

... I am quite well. 

I am, dear sir. 

Yours truly, 

D. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Alexander Dyce 

Rydal Mount, Kendal. 
My dear Sir, ^^^ '"*' '^^o- 

My last was, for want of room, concluded so abruptly 
that I avail myself of an opportunity of sending you a 
few additional words upon the same subject 


I observed that Lady Winchelsea was unfortunate in 
her models, Pindaricks and Fables; nor does it appear 
from her Arisiotnenes that she would have been more 
successful than her contemporaries if she had cultivated 
tragedy. She had sensibility sufficient for the tender 
parts of dramatic writing, but in the stormy and tumultu- 
ous she would probably have failed altogether. She 
seems to have made it a moral and religious duty to 
control her feelings, lest they should mislead her. Of 
love, as a passion, she was afraid ; no doubt from a con- 
scious inability to soften it down into friendship. I have 
often applied two lines of her drama (page 318) to her 

affections : 

Love's soft bands, 

His gentle cords of hyacinths and roses, 

Wove in the dewy spring when storms are silent. 

By-the-bye, in the next page are two impassioned lines 
spoken to a person fainting : 

Then let me hug and press thee into life, 
And lend thee motion from my beating heart. 

From the style and versification of this — so much her 
longest work — I conjecture that Lady Winchelsea had 
but a slender acquaintance with the drama of the earlier 
part of the preceding century. Yet her style in rhyme 
is often admirable, chaste, tender, and vigorous ; entirely 
free from sparkle, antithesis, and that over-culture which 
reminds one — by its broad glare, its stiffness, and heavi- 
ness — of the double daisies of the garden, compared 
with their modest and sensitive kindred in the fields. 
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I think there is a good deal 
of resemblance in her style and versification to that of 
Tickell, to whom Dr. Johnson justly assigns a high place 


among the minor poets ; and of whom Goldsmith rightly 
observes, that there is a strain of ballad-thinking through 
all his poetry, and it is very attractive. Pope, in that 
production of his boyhood, the Ode to Solitude, and in 
his Essay on Criticism^ has furnished proofs that at one 
period of his life he felt the charm of a sober and sub- 
dued style, which he afterwards abandoned for one that 
is — to my taste at least — too pointed and ambitious, 
and for a versification too timidly balanced. 

If a second edition of your Specimens should be called 
for, you might add from Helen Maria Williams the Sonnet 
to the Moon, and that to Twilight;'^ and a few more from 
Charlotte Smith,* particularly 

I love thee, mournful, sober-suited night. 

At the close of a sonnet of Miss Seward's * are two fine 

verses : 

Come, that I may not hear the winds of night, 
Nor count the heavy eave-drops as they fall. 

You have well characterised the poetic powers of this 
lady ; but, after all, her verses please me, with all their 
faults, better than those of Mrs. Barbauld,* who, with 
much higher powers of mind, was spoiled as a poetess 
by being a dissenter, and concerned with a dissenting 
academy. One of the most pleasing passages in her 

1 Helen Maria Williams (i 762-1 827), author of many poems, 
tales, novels, and letters. Compare Wordsworth's Poetical Worh^ 
Eversley edition, Vol. VIII, p. 209. — Ed. 

* Charlotte Smith (i 749-1 806) wrote Elegiac Sonnets, etc., (1784). 
— Ed. 

* Anna Seward (i 747-1809), called " The Swan of Lichfield," wrote 
Original Sonnets, and Odes paraphrased from Horace (1799). — Ed. 

^ Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-182 5) wrote Miscellaneous Poems 
(1773), Ode to Spring, etc. — Ed. 



poetry is the close of the lines upon Life^ written, I 
believe, when she was not less than eighty years of age : 

Life, we have been long together, etc.* 

You have given a specimen of that ever-to-be-pitied vic- 
tim of Swift, Vanessa, I have somewhere a short piece 
of hers upon her passion for Swift, which well deserves to 
be added. But I am becoming tedious, which you will 
ascribe to a well-meant endeavour to make you some 
return for your obliging attentions. 

I remain, dear sir. 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to John Gardner 

Whitehaven (I return home in a few days). 
My dear Sir, May ,9th, ,830. 

I feel that I ought to thank you for your judicious 
letter, and for the pains you have taken towards settling 
the question of the eligibility of low-priced publications. 

Messrs. Longman talk strangely when they say that 
my annual account will show what is advisable. How 
can that show anything but what number of purchases I 
have had ? It cannot tell me how many I have missed 
by the heavy price. Again, Messrs. L. affirm that my 
buyers are of that class who do not regard prices; but 
that class, never perhaps very large, is every day growing 

* On hearing these lines repeated by Henry Crabb Robinson, 
Wordsworth exclaimed, " Well, I am not given to envy other people 
their good things, but I do wish I had written thatt** — C. W. 



smaller, with the reduced incomes of the time; and, 
besides, in this opinion I believe these gentlemen to be 
altogether mistaken. My poetry, less than any other of 
the day,, is adapted to the taste of the luxurious, and of 
those who value themselves upon the privilege of wealth 
and station. And though it be true that several passages 
are too abstruse for the ordinary reader, yet the main body 
of it is as well fitted (if my aim be not altogether missed) 
to the bulk of the people — both in sentiment and lan- 
guage — as that of any of my contemporaries. I agree with 
you (and for the same reason) that nothing can be inferred 
from the failure of cheap publication in 's case. 

To the above consideration I would add that of the 
existence of pirated editions, and above all an apprehen- 
sion that there is a growing prejudice against high-priced 
books. Indeed, I am inclined to think, with my friend 
Mr. Southey, that shortly few books will be purchased 
except low-priced ones, or those that are highly orna- 
mented, for persons who delight in such luxuries. These 
considerations all seem in favour of the experiment which 
you recommend. Yet I am far from sure that it would 
answer. It is not to be questioned that the perpetually 
supplied stimulus of novels stands much in the way of 
the purer interest which used to attach to poetry ; and, 
although the. novelists, in but very few instances, retain 
more than the hold of part of a season upon public atten- 
tion, a fresh crop springs up every hour. . . . 

If I could persuade myself that the retail bookseller 
you speak of is not mistaken in his notion that he could 
sell ten copies, or less than half of that number, were the 
price something under a pound, when he now sells one^ I 
would venture upon such an edition. I ought to say to 
you, however, that I have changed my intention of 


making additions at present, and should confine myself to 
intermixing the few poems that were published in The 
Keepsake of the year before last 

I have already stated to you my notions of the extreme 
injustice of the law of cop3rright, if it has not been mis- 
represented to me, for I never saw the Act of Parlia- 
ment ; but I am told that, when an author dies, such of 
bis works as have been twice fourteen years before the 
public are public property; and that his heirs have no 
pecuniary interest in anything that he may leave behind 
beyond the same period. My days are, in course of 
nature, drawing towards a close ; and I think it would be 
best, in order to secure some especial value to any collec- 
tion of my works that might be printed after my decease, 
to reserve a certain number of new pieces, to be inter- 
mingled with that collection. I am acquainted with a 
distinguished author who means to hold back during his 
lifetime all the corrections and additions in his several 
works for the express purpose of benefiting his heirs, by 
the superiority which these improvements will give to the 
pieces which may have become the property of the public. 

I do sincerely hope that the law on this point Will one day 
or other be brought nearer to justice and reason. Take only 
my own comparatively insignificant case. Many of my 
poems have been upwards of thirty years subject to criti- 
cism, and are disputed about as keenly as ever, and appear 
to be read much more. In fact, thirty years are no ade- 
quate test for works of imagination, even from second and 
third rate writers, much less from those of the first order, as 
we see in the instances of Shakespeare and Milton. . . . 
I remain, dear sir, 

Faithfully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Edward Moxon 

June 2, 1830. 

... As to publishing anything myself, I am not pre- 
pared for it, but I believe the edition of my poems of 1827 
is now low; and, in consequence of an urgent application, 
I have entertained some thoughts of republishing, when 
this edition is all sold, in a cheap form — something 
under a pound — instead of 45 s., the present price. I 
should like to know from experienced persons whether 
such a mode of publication would be likely to repay me. 
Perhaps you may be able to throw some light on the sub- 
jecv. • • • 

Very sincerely yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Sir Walter Scott 

Rydal Mount, June 7th, 1830. 
My dear Sir Walter, 

Being upon a visit lately to Workington Hall, I there 
met with the elder brother by the father's side of Mr. Cur- 
wen, of that place, — Mr. Christian of Unerigg, in Cum- 
berland, and deemster of the Isle of Man. He asked if I 
was acquainted with you. I replied that I had for thirty 
years, nearly, had that honour, and spoke of you with that 
warmth I am accustomed to feel upon such an occasion. 
He then told me that Professor Wilson, at his request, 
had some time ago undertaken to write to you upon a 


point in which, innocently, you had been the cause of a 
good deal of uneasiness to him. You will guess, perhaps, 
that he alluded to the novel Peveril of the Peak, So it 
was. The conduct and character of his ancestor. Chris- 
tian, had there been represented, he said, in colours 
which were utterly at variance with the truth, and threw 
unmerited discredit upon his family. He said that the 
great historic families of the country were open to the 
fictions of men of genius, the facts being known to all 
persons of education ; but in the case of a private family 
like his, it was very different; a false impression was 
easily made, and could not be obviated or corrected in 
the present instance, except by an acknowledgment 
Erom the author himself. . . . He was prepared, he 
said, to furnish you, if you wished it, with documents 
unquestionably proving that Christian was entitled to, 
and possessed, the gratitude of the Isle-of Manners of 
his own and subsequent times, and that he was idolised 
in the country as a mart3rr, I suppose in a good cause. 
I replied that no one, I was sure, had a greater respect 
Eor ancestry than yourself, and that I could not think 
you would regard me as an unwarrantable intruder if I 
repeated his wish that some notice should be found in 
the following edition, by which the reader might be set 
right as to the real character of the person who came 
to so melancholy an end. . . . 
My dear Scott, everlastingly yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton \k 

June 15, 1830. 

. . . Summer is at hand, and I look forward with much 
pleasure to the time when you are to fulfil your promise 
of bringing your sister here. . . . Therefore do not fail 
to come, and I will show you a thousand beauties, and 
we will talk over a hundred interesting things. . . . 

Has Mr. Edgeworth gone to Italy ? About the same 
time that brought your papers, there were lying in my 
desk a couple of pages of two several letters which I 
have begun to him, and in both of which I was inter- 
rupted, and so they never came to a conclusion. If you 
are in correspondence with him, pray, in mercy to me, 
tell him so ; and if you come soon, I will write to him 
with a hope that you will add something to my letter, 
to make it acceptable. I know not whether you can 
sympathise with me when I say that it is a most pain- 
ful effort of resolution to return to an unfinished letter, 
which may have been commenced with warmth and spirit 
There seems a strange and disheartening gap between 
the two periods ; and if the handwriting be bad, as mine 
always is, how ugly does the sheet look I . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to William Pearson 
My dear Sir, Rydal Mount, June 22d, 1830. 

I promised to write to you on my brother's return from 
Moresby ; but alas ! he brought h^s daughter home in a 
very weak state. . . . 



As far as Dora is concerned, we should be glad to see 
you at any time ; but I cannot say when we shall have 
no company. At present our house is quite full ; one 
of the Misses Southey, and her brother, and a nephew of 
Mrs. Wordsworth are here ; and others expected when they 
are gone. But this fact ought not to prevent your directing 
your pony's head this way when you are disposed to take a 
day's holiday, if you can make up your mind to the dis- 
appointment of finding my brother not at home, or engaged. 

We are much obliged for the copy of your verses on 
The Hedgehog, They are interesting, if but as a record 
of an incident connected with that harmless, oppressed 
creature. . . . 

I remain, dear sir. 

Your sincere friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 

P.S. — Since writing the above my brother has met you 
at Fell Foot, and I find he has promised to inform you 
when we are without company. I am sorry to hear 
from him that your looks were not of the best. 

William Wordsworth to John Gardner 

July 16, [1830.] 

. . . Will you purchase for me spectacles with side- 
glasses ? I do not wish them to be green, nor ordinary 
glass ; but there is a kind of a cold bluish tint that subdues 
the glary light. . . . My eyes, though so long hampered by 
inflammation, are not aged; so that, without being the least 
short-sighted, I can read the smallest print without spec- 
tacles, though I have for some time used the first size. . . . 



William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

Sept 9th, 1830. 

. . . We live in a strange sort of way in this country 
at the present season. Professor Wilson invited thirty }^ 
persons to dine with him the other day, though he had 
neither provisions nor cook. I have no doubt, however, 
that all passed off well; for contributions of eatables 
came from one neighbouring house, to my knowledge, 
and good spirits, good humour, and good conversation 
would make up for many deficiencies. In another house, 
a cottage about a couple of miles from the professor's, 
were fifty guests, — how lodged^ I leave you to guess, — 
only we were told the overflow, after all possible cram- 
ming, was received in the offices, farmhouses, etc., adjoin- 
ing. All this looks more like what one has been told of 
Irish hospitality than aught that the formal English are 
up to. . . . 

William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

LowTHER Castle, September 26, 1830. 

. . . Did I tell you that Professor Wilson with his two 
sons and daughter have been, and probably still are, at 
Elleray ? He heads the gaieties of the neighbourhood, 
and has presided as steward at two regattas. Do these 
emplo3nnents come under your notions of action as op- 
posed to contemplation ? Why should they not ? What- 
ever the high moralists may say, the political economists 


will, I conclude, approve them as setting capital afloat ; 
and giving an impulse to manufacture and handicrafts, 
not to speak of the improvement which may come thence 
to navigation and nautical science. . . . 

There is another acquaintance of mine also recently 
gone — a person for whom I never had any love, but with 
whom I had for a short time a good deal of intimacy — 
I mean Hazlitt, whose death you may have seen an- 
nounced in the papers. He was a man of extraordinary 
acuteness, but perverse as Lord Byron himself, whose Life 
by Gait I have been skimming since I came here. . . . 

WilHam Wordsworth to Edwin Hill Hundley 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, 

October 4th , 1830. 
Dear Sir, 

I lose no time in replying to your communication,* and 
will proceed to the point without ceremony or apology. 

I protest, on your behalf, against the competence of 
the tribunal whose judgment you are content to abide 
by. A question of this moment can be decided only by 
and within the mind that proposes it. Allow me to say 
that you have reversed the order of judicial proceedings 
by appealing from the higher — higher assuredly quoad 
hoc — to the lower powers. What more then shall I say? 
That your interesting letter evinces extraordinary powers 
would be obvious to the dullest and most insensible. 
Indeed I may declare with sincerity, that great things 
may be expected from one capable of feeling in such a 

1 Mr. Handley had sent some of his verses to Wordsworth for 
his opinion. This letter is his reply. — £d. 


strain, and expressing himself with so much vigour and 
originality. With your verses upon Fumess Abbey I am 
in sympathy when I look on the dark side of the subject, 
and they are well expressed, except for the phrase " super- 
cilious damn " (if I read aright), which is not to my taste. 

And now for the short piece that contains the '^ thoughts 
of your whole life." Having prepared you for the con- 
clusion that neither my own opinion, nor that of any 
one else, is worth much as to deciding the point for 
which this document is given as evidence, I have no 
scruple in telling you honestly that I do not compre- 
hend those lines ; but, coming from one able to write 
the letter I have just received, I do not think the worse 
of them on that account Were any one to show an 
acorn to a native of the Orcades who had never seen a 
shrub higher than his knee, and by way of giving him a 
notion or image of the oak should tell him that its *' lat- 
itude of boughs " lies close folded in that " auburn nut," 
the Orcadian would stare, and feel that his imagination 
was somewhat unreasonably taxed. So is it with me in 
respect to this germ. I do not deny that the "forest's 
monarch with his army shade " may be lurking there in 
embryo, but neither can I undertake to affirm it There- 
fore let your mind, which is surely of a high order, be its 
own oracle. 

. . . The true standard of poetry is high as the soul of 
man has gone, or can go ; of how far my own falls below 
that, no one can have such pathetic conviction as my 
poor self. 

With high respect, I remain, dear sir, 

Sincerely yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 



William Wordsworth to John Abraham Heraud 

Trinity Lodge, Cambridge, 
November 23d, [1830.] 
Dear Sir, 

It gives me much concern that you should have occa- 
sion to write to me again, and the more so because the 
wish which you have done me the honour of expressing it 
is out of my power to gratify. . . . But to say the truth I 
read so little, and am so very much less addicted to writ- 
ing — especially upon any formal subjects — that though 
I should not be without a strong wish to serve you, were 
I able to do so, I am conscious that I could not under- 
take the task you would put me to, with the least prospect 
of benefit to either of us. I am not a critic, and set little 
value upon the art. The preface which I wrote long ago 
to my own Poems I was persuaded to write by the urgent 
entreaties of a friend, and heartily regret I ever had any- 
thing to do with it ; though I do not reckon the principles 
then advanced erroneous. 

Your poem is vigorous, and that is enough for me. I 
think it in some places diffuse, in others somewhat rugged, 
from the originality of your mind. You feel strongly; 
trust to those feelings, and your poem will take its shape 
and proportions, as a tree does, from the vital principle 
that actuates it. I do not think that great poems can 
be cast in a mould. Homer's, the greatest of all, certainly 
was not. Trust, again I say, to yourself. . . . 

Believe me, with sincere respect, 
Your admirer, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

Trinity Lodge, Cambridge, 
November 26, 1830. 

I reached this place nine days ago. . . . On the fifth 
of November I was a solitary equestrian entering the 
romantic little town of Ashford-in-the-Waters, on the 
edge of the wilds of Derbyshire, at the close of the day, 
when guns were beginning to be let off and squibs to be 
fired on every side, so that I thought it prudent to dis- 
mount and lead my horse through the place, and so on 
to Bakewell, two miles further. You must know how I 
happened to be riding through these wild regions. It 
was my wish that Dora should have the benefit of her 
pony while at Cambridge,, and, very valiantly and eco- 
nomically, I determined, unused as I am to horseman- 
ship, to ride the creature myself. I sent James with it 
to Lancaster ; there mounted, stopped a day at Manches- 
ter, a week at Coleorton, and so reached the end of my 
journey safe and sound, not, however, without encoun- 
tering two days of tempestuous rain. Thirty-seven miles 
did I ride in one day through the worst of these storms, 
and what was my resource 1 Guess again. Writing verses 
to the memory of my departed friend Sir George Beau- 
mont, whose house I had left the day before. While 
buffeting the other storm I composed a sonnet on the 
splendid domain of Chatsworth, which I had seen in the 
morning, as contrasted with the secluded habitations of 
the narrow dells in the Peak ; and as I passed through 
the tame and manufacture-disfigured country of Lanca- 
shire, I was reminded, by the faded leaves, of Spring, 


and threw off a few stanzas of an ode to May. But too 
much of self and my own performances upon my steed, a 
descendant no douht of Pegasus, though her owner and 
present rider knew nothing of it. 

Now for a word about Professor Airy. I have seen 
him twice, but I did not communicate your message ; it 
was at dinner and at an evening party, and I thought it 
best not to speak of it till I saw him, which I mean to 
do, upon a morning call. There is a great deal of intel- 
lectual activity within the walls of this College, and in 
the University at large; but conversation turns mainly 
upon the state of the country and the late change in the 
administration. The fires have extended to within eight 
miles of this place, from which I saw one of the worst, if 
not absolutely the worst, indicated by a redness in the 
sky, a few nights ago. . . . There is an interesting 
person in this University for a day or two, whom I have 
not yet seen, Kenelm Digby, author of The Broadstone of 
Honour^ a book of chivalry, which I think was put into 
your hands at Rydal Mount. We have also a respectable 
show of blossom in poetry, — two brothers of the name of 
Tennyson, one in particular not a little promising. . . . 
My daughter has resumed her German labours, and is 
not easily drawn from what she takes to. . . . She owes 
a long letter to her brother in Germany, who, by-the-bye, 
tells us that he will not cease to look out for the book 
of Kant you wished for. ... 



William Wordsworth to George Hunily Gordon 

My dear Mr. Gordon, 

Thanks for your hint about Rhenish. Strength from 
wine is good, from water still better. . . . 

One is glad to see tyranny baffled and foolishness put 
to shame ; but the French king, and his ministers, will be 
unfairly judged by all those who take not into considera- 
tion the difficulties of their position. It is not to be 
doubted that there has long existed a determination, and 
that plans have been laid, to destroy the government 
which the French received, as they felt, at the hands of 
the allies, and their pride could not bear. Moreover, the 
constitution, had it been their own choice, would by this 
time have lost favour in the eyes of the French, as not 
sufficiently democratic for the high notion that people 
entertain of their fitness to govern themselves ; but, for 
my own part, I 'd rather fill the office of a parish beadle 
than sit on the throne where the Duke of Orleans has 
suffered himself to be placed. 

The heat is gone ; and, but that we have too much rain 
again, the country would be enchanting. 

With a thousand thanks, I remain, 

Ever yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 




William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

BuxTED Rectory, near Uckfield, Sussex, 
24th January, 183 1. 

... In the Quarterly Review lately was an article, a 
very foolish one I think, upon the decay of science in 
England, and ascribing it to the want of patronage from 
the government — a poor compliment this to science ! 
Her hill, it seems, in the opinion of the writer, cannot 
be ascended unless the pilgrim be "stuck o'er with titles 
and hung round with strings," and have his pockets laden 
with cash ; besides, a man of science must be a minister 
of state or a privy councillor, or at least a public func- 
tionary of importance. Mr. Whewell, of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, has corrected the mis-statements of the re- 
viewer in an article printed in the British Critic of Janu- 
ary last, and vindicated his scientific countrymen. . . . 

You are interested about Mr. Coleridge ; I saw him 
several times lately, and had long conversations with 
him. It grieves me to say that his constitution seems 
much broken up. I have heard that he has been worse 
since I saw him. His mind has lost none of its vigour, 
but he is certainly in that state of bodily health that no 
one who knows him could feel justified in holding out the 
hope of even an introduction to him, as an inducement 


for your visiting London. Much do I regret this, for 
you may pass your life without meeting a man of such 
commanding faculties. I hope that my criticisms have 
not deterred your sister from poetical composition. The 
world has indeed had enough of it lately, such as it is ; 
but that is no reason why a sensibility like hers should 
not give vent to itself in verse. 

William Wordsworth to Henry Taylor^ 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, 
February 23d, [183 1.] 

. . . We have had Dr. Arnold * and his family staying 
his Christmas vacation at the foot of our hill. They 
enjoyed themselves mightily, the weather having been 
delightful. The Lords being threatened with destruc- 
tion, I say nothing of politics. 

Ever faithfully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Sir George Beaumont 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, 
My dear Sir George, April 15, [.831.] 

The papers inform me that a second son has made his 
appearance at Coleorton Hall. We all congratulate you 
and Lady Beaumont sincerely upon this happy event. 

1 Sir Henry Taylor (1800-1886), author of Philip Van Artevelde, 
etc. — Ed. 

«Of Rugby.— Ed. 


May the newly-arrived, and his brother, live to be a bless- 
ing to their parents. 

I congratulate you also upon having got through your 
troublesome office of sheriff ; as it is so much more agree- 
able to look back upon such an employment, however 
honourable, than to have it in prospect. 

My dear sister, though obliged to keep to the habits 
and restraints of an invalid for prudence' sake, is, I am 
happy to say, in good health. She and Mrs. Wordsworth 
join with me in best wishes and regards to yourself and 
Lady Beaumont, as would my son and daughter have 
done ; but they are now together at his abode, I cannot 
say his parsonage (for the living has none), at Moresby, 
near Whitehaven. 

I remain, my dear Sir George, 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Edward Moxon 

9th June, 183 1. 

... As to improving the selection in another edition, 
I am very sceptical about that. You would find no two 
persons agreeing upon what was best; and, upon the 
whole, tell Mr. H. that I think he has succeeded fully as 
well, if not better, than most other persons would have 
done. . . . Mr. Leigh Hunt is a coxcomb, was a cox- 
comb, and ever will be a coxcomb. 

I am, faithfully yours, 

W. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

Rydal Mount, June 13, 1831. 

... I saw little or nothing of Cambridge on my return, 
which was upon the eve of the election ; but I found that 
the mathematicians of Trinity — Peacock, Airy, Whewell 
— were taking what I thought the wrong side; so was 
that able man, the geological professor, Sedgwick. But 
" what matter ? " was said to me by a lady ; " these peo- 
ple know nothing but about stars and stones" ; which is 
true, I own, of some of them. . . . 

I have scarcely written a hundred verses during the 
last twelve months; a sonnet, however, composed the 
day before yesterday, shall be transcribed upon this 
sheet, by way of making my part of it better worth post- 
age. It was written at the request of the painter, Hay- 
don, and to benefit him, i.e. as he thought ; but it is no 
more than my sincere opinion of his excellent picture. . . . 

A selection from my poems has just been edited by 
Dr. Hine, for the benefit chiefly of schools and young 
persons. . . . Fifteen hundred copies have been struck 
off. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to the Rowan Hamiltons 

[Rydal, 1831.] 

... As you, my dear friends, Mr. and Miss Hamilton, 
may have discovered by the slight improvement in legi- 
bility of penmanship, other hands have been employed 


to finish this letter, which has been on the stocks half 
as long as a man-of-war ! . . . 

This very moment a letter arrives — very complimen- 
tary — from the Master of St. John's College, Cambridge 
(the place of my brother William's education), requesting 
him to sit for his portrait to some eminent artist, as he 
expresses it, '* to be placed in the old house among their 
worthies." He writes in his own name, and that of sev- 
eral of the Fellows. Of course my brother consents ; but 
the difficulty is to fix on an artist^ There never yet has 
been a good portrait of my brother. The sketch by 
Haydon, as you may remember, is a fine drawing; but 
what a likeness ! All that there is of likeness makes it 
to me the more disagreeable. 

William Wordsworth to Benjamin Robert Haydon 

[Rydal] June, 1831. 
My dear Haydon, 

I send you the sonnet,* and let me have your " King- 
dom " for it. What I send you is not warm, but piping- 
hot from the brain, whence it came in the wood adjoining 
my garden not ten minutes ago, and was scarcely more 
than twice as long in coming. You know how much I 
admired your picture, both for the execution and the con- 
ception. The latter is first-rate, and I could dwell upon 
it for a long time in prose, without disparagement to the 
former, which I admired also, having to it no objection 

1 It was painted by H. W. Pickersgill. — Ed. 

2 The sonnet entitled To B. R, Haydon^ on seeing his picture of 
Napoleon Bonaparte on the Island of St, Helena, — Ed. 


bat the regimeiitals. They are too spruce, and remind 
one of the parade, whkh die wearer seems to have just left 

One of the best caricatures I have lately seen is that of 
Brougham, a single figure upon one knee, stretching out 
his arms by the sea-shore towards die rising sun (William 
the Fourth), which, as in duty bound, he is worshipping. 
Do not think your excellent picture d^raded, if I remark 
that die force of die same principle, simplicity, is seen in 
die burlesque composition, as in your work, — widi infi- 
nitely less effect, no doubt, from die inferiority of style 
and subject ; yet still it b pleasing to note the undercur- 
rents oi affinity in opposite styles of art 

I think of Napoleon pretty much as you do, but with 
more dislike, probably because my thoughts have turned 
less upon the flesh-and-blood man than yours ; and there- 
fore have been more at liberty to dwell, with unqualified 
scorn, upon his various liberticide projects, and the miser- 
able selfishness of his spirit. Few men of any time have 
been at die head of greater events, yet they seem to have 
had no power to create in him the least tendency towards 
magnanimity. How, then, with this impression, can I 
help despising him ? So much for the idol of thousands. 
As to the Reformers, the folly of the ministerial leaders 
is only to be surpassed by the wickedness of those who 
will speedily supplant them. God of Mercy, have mercy 
upon poor England! To think of this glorious country 
lackeying the heels of France in religion, that is no 
religion, in morals, government, and social order ! It 
cannot come to good, at least for the present generation. 
They have begun it in shame, and it will lead them to 
misery. God bless you. 


Wm. Wordsworth. 


P.S. — You are at liberty to print the sonnet, with my 
name, when and where you think proper. If it does you 
the least service, the end for which it is written will be 
answered. Call at Moxon's, Bond Street, and let him give 
you from me, for your children, a copy of the Selections 
he has just published from my poems. 

William Wordsworth to Sir Walter Scott 

Rydal Mount (sometimes called Idle Mount, and in 
your address of June last misnamed Mount Rydal), 

20th July, 183 1. 

... I feel truly obliged, dear Sir Walter, by your atten- 
tion to Mr. Christian's wishes. He is perfectly satisfied. 
When I mentioned the matter to you I had not the least 
suspicion of an event being in progress, which has already 
connected me with the family of Christian by a tie much 
stronger than that of common acquaintance. My eldest 
son has been accepted by Miss Curwen, with the entire 
approbation of her parents, as her future husband, and 
they are soon to be married. She is now upon a visit to 
us, and we are quite charmed with her amiable disposi- 
tion, her gentleness, her delicacy, her modesty, her sound 
sense, and right notions ; so that my son has a prospect 
before him as bright as man can wish for. . • . 


William Wordsworth to Edward Moxon 

Rydal, July 21, 1831. 
My dear Sir, 

... I have an aversion little less than insurmountable 
to having anything to do with periodicals. ... If I 
could bring myself, out of personal kindness for any edi- 
tor or proprietor of a periodical, to contribute, it would 
be to the channel of Alaric Watts,^ who has a sort of 
claim upon me for literary civilities and intended services 
some time ago. . . . 

And now may I take the liberty of expressing my 
regret that you should have been tempted into this experi- 
ment at all ? . . . It strikes me that there is something 
like attempting to take the public by storm in putting 
forth your personal friends in the way you propose to do. 
The public is apt to revolt at any such step. . . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs, Clarkson 

Concluded on Friday, the 9th of September, [1831.] 

My dear Friend, 

. . . There is just come out a portrait of my brother, 
for which he sat when last in London. It is a lithograph of 
a chalk drawing by Wilkins, and may be had in Lon- 
don. I think it a strong likeness, and so does every one. 

^ He refers to Tlie EnglishmatCs Magazine^ which began in Apnl 
and ended in October, 1831. — Ed. 


Of course, to his own family something is wanting ; nev- 
ertheless I value it much as a likeness of him in company, 
and something of that restraint with cheerfulness, which 
is natural to him in mixed societies. There is nothing of 
the poet. . . . 

Saturday. This letter was interrupted three weeks ago, 
or thereabouts ; and afterwards being unexpectedly called 
away to Belle Isle, while John and Isabella were there, 
I left it unfinished. I stayed there ten days. It is a 
splendid place for a visit such as mine ; but compared 
with Rydal Mount dull, and to the feelings confining, 
though persons who live there persuade themselves there 
is no more trouble in being ferried over to the shore 
than in continuing uninterruptedly to walk on. 

^ut what I like least in an island as a residence is 
the being separated from men, cattle, cottages, and the 
goings-on of rural life. John and Isabella are on a 
tour in North Wales, and my brother, Dora, and Charles 
Wordsworth hope to set off next week on a few days 
visit to Sir W. Scott; and, if weather allow, a short tour — 
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Loch Lomond, Inverary, 
Loch Awe, Loch Etive, and the isle of Mull. We have 
friends at that island. Stamp-ofiice business prevented 
their setting off some days ago. . . . Dora is to drive 
her father in a little carriage of our own, with a very 
steady horse. Charles will travel by coach, and on foot, 
or as he can. He is a fine, cheerful fellow, and rejoices 
in the hope of this little tour, being very fond of both his 
uncle and cousin, and glad of the opportunity of seeing a 
person of so much importance as Sir Walter. Poor man! 
his health is shattered by a recurrence of slight paralytic 
strokes, but his mind is active as ever. He would write 
eight hours in the day if allowed by the physicians, but 


it is the worst thing he can do ; and most likely it is rather 
to divert him from study, than for benefits expected from 
the climate, that he has been advised to winter in Italy. 
He has fixed on leaving Abbotsford at the end of this 
month to proceed to Naples. The young William is still 
here; but on the 20th of next month is to begin resi- 
dence at Carlisle as sub-distributor there — a good put- 
ting on (for it is about ;^i8o per annum) till something 
better fall out, or as long as things are allowed to remain 
as they are. But, to tell you the truth, so many changes 
are going on, I consider nothing as stable ; and do expect 
that the sovereign people to whom our rulers bow so 
obsequiously will not long endure the stamp office, and 
its distributors, or the national debt, or anything else that 
now is. 

In October we expect Mr. Jones, the companion of my 
brother forty years ago over the Alps. He looks back 
to that journey as the golden and sunny spot in his life. 
It would delight you to hear the pair talk of their adven- 
tures. My brother, active, lively, and almost as strong 
as ever on a mountain top ; Jones, fat and roundabout 
and rosy, and puffing and panting while he climbs the 
little hill from the road to our house. Never was there a 
more remarkable contrast ; yet time seems to have strength- 
ened the attachment of the native of Cambrian mountains 
to his Cumbrian friend. We also expect Mr. Quillinan 
in October. Whether he will leave his daughter Rotha 
(his youngest born) with us for the winter, or take her to 
school, I know not. Jemima is at school near Paris, and 
as Dora does not like to part with her godchild, perhaps 
it may be settled that she remain here till spring. She 
is an interesting and very clever child, the image of her 
father. We never saw the Tillbrooks but at church, and 


did not exchange a word with either of them. It is of no 
use to enter on a painful history; enough to say that 
both Tillbrook and his wife so misrepresented the truth 
in regard to Dora's refusal of Mr. Ayling's offer of mar- 
riage, that we could have no satisfaction in holding inter- 
course with them, and therefore we never entered their 
door. For your own -private ear I will just say that Mrs. 
T. is what the world calls a fascinating woman, and that 
there is an appearance of simplicity and frankness about 
her which won Dora's heart, and we all liked her much. 
During the intercourse which continued a little while 
between Dora and her, after D.'s refusal, we had cause 
to think her a person whom we should not desire to be 
closely connected with. ... If you would come next 
summer for one month, two, or three — or as long as you 
liked — Mrs. Luff would consent cheerfully to let you 
keep house, and would be your guest. Now, is it not 
possible that the thing might be? Surely it is. But I 
feel inclined neither to talk, think, nor plan about such 
a scheme. If circumstances favour, no need of plan- 
ning. You would have only to resolve and propose, and 
the thing is done. At sixty years of age, scheming is 
not the amusement one is inclined to resort to. The cer- 
tainty of death, its near approach, and the sudden changes 
continually happening among those who were young when 
we were, absolutely check in me all disposition to form 
plans. . . . My brother was lately at Lowther, and called 
with Lord Lonsdale on Thomas Wilkinson. He was 
cheerful, though quite blind. . . . 



William Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Rydal Mount, Sept 9th. 
[Postmark, Sept 13, 1831.] 
My dear Mr. Kenyon, 

Your letter, which reached me at the breakfast table, 
as my letters generally do, was truly acceptable to myself 
and to all of us. . . . At Nottingham that poetry, upon 
which you are so good-naturedly copious, stood me in good 
stead. I had not an acquaintance in that large town, but 
I introduced myself and told our distresses to a brother 
and sister of the lyre, William and Mary Howitt, and 
they were as kind to us as all poets and poetesses ought 
to be to each other; offering their house as a place of 
retreat from the noise and tumult of the elections which 
were to begin the next day. In twelve days Mary and 
Dora followed me home. And here we are with William, 
who is to be fixed at Carlisle as my sub-distributor in 
about a month from this time. John and his wife have 
been with us; and Dora and I are going to see Sir 
Walter Scott at Abbotsford, before his departure for 
Naples, where he intends to winter for the benefit of his 
health. Had I not feared that you might have left St. 
Leonards, I would have kept this letter, with the hope of 
making it more interesting to you and Mrs. K. by some 
account of that great man, and the many things and 
objects he has about him, which you would have been 
pleased to hear of, and which he is going to leave so 
soon upon what may prove a melancholy errand. 

The summer that is over has been with us, as well as 
with you, a brilliant one for sunshine and fair and calm 


weather ; brilliant also for its unexampled gaiety in regat- 
tas, balls, dejeuners, picnics by the lakeside, on the islands, 
and on the mountain tops, fireworks by night, dancing 
on the greensward by day ; in short a fever of pleasure 
from mom to dewy eve, from dewy eve till break of day. 
Our youths and maidens, like Chaucer's squire, " have 
slept no more than doth the nightingale," and our old 
men have looked as bright as Tithonus when his withered 
cheek reflected the blushes of Aurora, upon her first 
declaration of her passion for him. In the room where I 
am now dictating, we had, three days ago, a dance — 
forty beaux and belles, besides matrons, ancient spinsters, 
and greybeards — and to-morrow in this same room we 
are to muster for a venison feast. Why are you not here, 
either to enjoy or to philosophise upon this dissipation ? 
Our party to-morrow is not so large but that we could 
find room for you and Mrs. Kenyon. The disturbed 
state of the Continent is no doubt the reason why, in spite 
of the Reform Bill, such multitudes of pleasure hunters 
have found their way this summer to the Lakes. 

After so much levity, Mary shall transcribe for you a 
serious stanza or two, intended for an inscription in a part 
of the grounds of Rydal Mount with which you are not 
acquainted, a field adjoining our garden which I pur- 
chased two or three years ago. Under the shade of 
some pollard oaks, and on a green terrace in that field, 
we have lived no small part of the long bright days of 
the summer gone by ; and in a hazel nook of this favour- 
ite piece of ground is a stone, for which I wrote one day 
the following serious inscription. You will forgive its 

In these fair vales hath many a tree 
At Wordsworth's suit been spared, 


And from the builder's hand tiiis sUme, 

For some rude beauty of its own. 

Was rescued by the bard ; 

Long may it rest in peace ! and here 

Perchance the tender-hearted 

Will heave a gende sigh for him 

As one of the departed. 

. . . How sorry I am that Mr. Bailey should have gone 
as far as Ceylon ignorant of the fact that I never have 
received his book, nor before the receipt of your letter 
was aware of the intended favour! How came your 
brother to go from Manchester into Scotland without 
taking us by the way? but perhaps he steamed it from 
Liverpool. Tillbrook has offered his house and furniture 
for sale by private treaty, the price two thousand guineas; 
mtre nous^ eight hundred more than its worth, except for 
fancy. Adieu ; every one here — to wit, self and spouse, 
son and daughter, sister and sister in something better 
than law — joins in kindest regards to you and Mrs. Ken- 
yon, and to your brother when you write to him. Fare- 
well again. 

Very affectionately yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

We shall always, not merely " now and then," be glad 
to hear from you. You asked how I had "things from 
London." Pamphlets, etc., sent to J. Richardson, 91 
Royal Exchange, are forwarded if directed to me under 
cover to Hudson & Nicholson, Booksellers, Kendal. 



William Wordsworth to Sir Walter Scott 

^# A c- wu Carlisle, Sept. 16, [183 1.] 

My dear Sir Walter, 

" There's a man wi' a veil, and a lass drivin'," exclaimed 
a little urchin, as we entered merry Carlisle a couple of 
hours ago, on our way to Abbotsford. . . . 

A nephew of mine,^ a student of Christchurch — and I 
may add, a distinguished one — to whom I could not but 
allow the pleasure of accompanying us, has taken the 
Newcastle road into Scotland, hoping to join me at 
Abbotsford. If he should arrive before us, let him be 
no restraint upon you whatever. Let him loose in your 
library, or on the Tweed with his fishing-rod, or in the 
stubble with his gun (he is but a novice of a shot, by- 
the-bye), and he will be no trouble to any part of your 

I am, very affectionately yours, 

W. W. 

Sarah Hutchinson to Edward Quillinan ^ 

My dear Friend, [Oct ,st. 183..] 

The enclosed has been long sticking in the china quart 
upon the mantelpiece waiting for an opportunity to be 
forwarded, as we did not think it worth double postage, 
and now when the opportunity has arrived we know not 

1 Charles, afterwards Bishop Wordsworth of St. Andrews. — Ed. 
^ No date or postmark, Oct. i, 1831. — Ed. 


how to direct to you, so shall enclose it to Eliza (to whom 
a letter yesterday was scrawled in much haste), who is 
possibly still in B. street. This is the first day of October, 
and we hope you are beginning to think of your journey 
hitherward, though it is but fair to tell you that our 
Master and Dora will not be at home till the 23d or 24th. 
Charles Wordsworth, who has been with them at Abbots- 
ford, is on his return ; we expect him this evening. Their 
journey seems to have been very pleasant so far — though 
they were just in time to see Sir Walter, as he set out for 
Naples last Friday week, and they did not reach Abbots- 
ford till the preceding Monday; but they spent three days 
there most agreeably, and found their host better than 
they had hoped, or the newspapers for some time have 
allowed him to be. To-day they were to reach Bonaw 
upon Loch Etive, and I suppose on Monday they will 
go to Mull, where they are to remain a few days with Col. 
and Mrs. Campbell, our old Allan Bank neighbours. Mr. 
Wordsworth's eyes have gradually improved during the 
journey and are now nearly quite well. D.^ says noth- 
ing of her own health, but as she appears to enjoy herself 
so much we trust it is good, and if the weather continues 
tolerable, I doubt not they will both return in good plight; 
but here we have at present true Westmoreland weather — 
though not entirely wet, yet very close, hot, and unwhole- 
some. Notwithstanding, we are all well, and your little 
darling has been as good as possible ever since she 
came hither. So I suppose her native air is salutary. 
She is also as good as possible and continues to be the 
delight of the whole household. 

If you are still at Bath this letter may not reach you — 
as probably you will come hither without returning to 

1 Dora Wordsworth. — Ed. 


town, in which case I shall be very angry with you if 
you do not give our friends at Brinsop * a call as it will 
be in your most direct road. Ro.^ has a very pretty letter 
from Mima,* who seems to be very happy at her new school, 
though she wishes to see Rotha and Eliza much. I shall 
not write you any news or gossip, because I do not ex- 
pect you will receive this letter, but if you do you must 
wait patiently till we meet. 

My sister and Miss Wordsworth join in kindest regards, 
and believe me, 

Ever your true friend, __ 

o* xl* 

John Wordsworth * to Dora Wordsworth 

BuxTED, October 17th, 1831. 
My dear Dora, 

If you ever think of me at all, and I should be sorry to 
believe you did not, you will be not a little surprised at 
receiving a letter from me dated Buxted, at a time when 
you imagine me perhaps almost arrived at the antipodes. 
I will not trouble you at present with the reasons which 
have induced me to postpone my visit to the other hemi- 
sphere ; suffice it to say that they might be divided and 
subdivided into almost as many sections as a sermon of 
the old divines, or as the conclusion of one which my 
father preached yesterday evening and which might fairly 

1 Brinsop Court in Herefordshire. — Ed. 
3 Rotha Quillinan. — Ed. 
* Jemima Quillinan, her sister.' — Ed. 

^ The son of the Master of Trinity, and cousin of his correspond, 
ent. — Ed. 


be compared to a cat of nine tails. In writing this letter 
I have another object. For the last three months I have 
been settled at Buxted, and have scarcely exchanged one 
word with any rational creature except my father and his 
curate, and I have lately been working hard at some 
papers which are to appear in the next number of the 
Museum Criticum^ of which Mr. Rose is the editor. I 
have just now completed my task, and after taking such 
a "desperate draught" of Greek and Latin in the con- 
templative seclusion of Buxted, I begin to long for an 
escape from books and solitude. 

I have promised to spend a few days at Birmingham, 
and I hope to be there on Thursday next. If you can 
either give or procure me a lodging in your neighbour- 
hood, I should be very glad to continue my journey 
northward ; but if it is in the slightest degree inconvenient 
to my uncle to receive me, I hope you will tell me so with- 
out any reserve, and I shall then indulge my vagabond 
propensities in some other direction. Will you let me 
know whether I may proceed northward or no by a few 
lines directed to Bingley ? My father is remarkably well. 
Our life here as you may guess has been somewhat monot- 
onous, and we should have been in danger of stagnation 
if we had not found plenty of materials for conversation 
in the madness and wickedness of the Ministry, who have 
plunged the country and themselves into an abyss of dif- 
ficulty and danger, from which it can scarcely be extri- 
cated by human means. The accounts given in the 
newspapers of the riots and disturbances in London are 
very much exaggerated. This is one of the artifices 
employed to propagate tumult, by that press which has 
strained every sinew to goad the . people into rebellion. 
There can be no doubt that a great reaction has taken 


place in the popular opinion in favour of reform, but we 
can derive but little hope from this while we have a Min- 
istry obstinately determined to stake everything upon the 
success of this measure, and a House of Commons dumb 
in support of reform, and deaf and blind to everything 
against it. The post is just going out, and I have only 
time to add our united love to all at Rydal. . . . 

Believe me, my dear Dora, 

Ever your very affectionate cousin, 

John Wordsworth. 

Dorothy Wordsworth to William Pearson 

Rydal Mount, October 20th, 1831. 
My dear Sir, 

My nephew, being particularly engaged with office busi- 
ness during Mr. Carter's absence (who is keeping holiday 
at Liverpool), has desired me to return you his best 
thanks for your letter, and for all the pains you have 
taken to procure a horse. 

As perhaps you may have heard, William and his father 
set off a few days ago to look after one or more of the 
horses you had mentioned; and fortunately fell in with 
the grey, and its owner. In some respects they were 
much pleased with it; but the man asked ;^3o for it, 
which they thought too much, and besides, he was not 
ready to warrant its soundness, but only said, he " would 
pass it." These considerations induced my brother, 
with his son, to go to Crook yesterday, and there they 
actually made a bargain, not for the Crook Hall grey. 


but for a bay horse, which they hope will answer their 

It is an admirable walker, but unused to trotting, hav- 
ing only been put to carting and ploughing. We expect 
the horse to-day, and as soon as it has had a fair trial it 
is to be sent to Moresby to bring home Mrs. Words- 
worth; and soon after her return it may possibly have 
the honour of conveying the poet and his daughter to 
Abbotsford, to visit Sir Walter Scott! This visit has 
long been promised, but the late accounts of Sir Walter's 
health having been very bad, we were fearful that the 
visit might never be accomplished. I am happy, how- 
ever, to tell you that a friend of oifrs who has just been 
on a visit at Abbotsford informs us that Sir Walter is 
much better at present, and quite able to enjoy the soci- 
ety of friends. This information has determined my 
brother to think seriously of the journey; and if Sir 
Walter continues as well as he is at present, it will prob- 
ably be accomplished during the autumn. ... 

My brother and William would have been very glad to 
call on you yesterday, but the additional three miles 
would have made the ride too long for him. As it was, 
he was a good deal fatigued, not being so clever on 
horseback as on foot. . . . 

I am, dear sir. 

Yours sincerely, 

Dorothy Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Basil Montagu 

[Postmark, Oct. 22, 1831.] 

On my return from an excursion in Scotland two days 
ago I found the fourteenth volume of Bacon,^ together 
with your note of the 9th of August, left here by Mr. 
Romilly. On the question of the punishment by death 
you have written with much ability. For my own part, 
I am decidedly of opinion that, in the case of forgery, 
both humanity and pdlicy require that an experiment 
should be made to ascertain whether it cannot be dis- 
pensed with. 

I am glad that you are proceeding with the life of 
Bacon. You say that he was sacrificed to Buckingham. 
Have you read a letter of Buckingham's to him in 
which he charges him with the intention of sacrificing 
him (Buckingham) as he had betrayed all his patrons 
and friends in succession ? Buckingham enumerates the 
cases. It has always appeared to me that much of the 
odium attached to Lord Bacon's name on account of cor- 
rupt practices arose out of ignorance respecting the spirit 
of those times, and the way in which things were carried 
on. . . . Travelling agrees with me wonderfully. I am 
as much Peter Bell as ever, and since my eyelids have 
been so liable to inflammation, after much reading espe- 
cially, I find nothing so feeding to my mind as change of 
scene, and rambling about ; and my labours, such as they 
are, can be carried on better in the fields and on the 
roads, than anywhere else. ... 

^ Montagu was then editing Bacoii's works. — Ed. 



Dora Wordsworth to Miss Hamilton (Rowan 

Hamilton's Sister) 

Rydal Mount, October 26, 1831. 

My dear Miss Hamilton, 

. . . Father and I were among the Highlands when 
your brother's last letter arrived — a late season for tour- 
ing, you may think, and so it was; but the additional 
beauty given to the colouring of the woods by October's 
workmanship,^ and to the mountains by her mists and 
vapours and rainbows, reflected again and again both in 
the waters and on the clouds, more than compensated for 
shortened days and broken weather. Father has called 
Scotland the '< Land of Rainbows/' I, who had never 
been in Scotland, was more delighted than words can 
tell ; but it may be I am not an unprejudiced judge. I 
could not look at Inversnaid, 

The lake, the bay, the waterfall,* 
nor at that 

Wild Relique ! beauteous as the chosen spot 
In Nysa's isle, the embellished Grot,* 

with common eyes. Almost every spot of peculiar inter- 
est was interesting to me for my father's sake, more so 

^ Compare the line in the sonnet on TTie Trossachs — 
October's workmanship to rival May. — Ed. 

2 See To a Highland Girl, 1. 77, Poetical Works, Eversley edition, 
Vol. II, p. 392. — Ed. 

* See The Brownie^ Cell, stanza x, Poetical Works, Eversley edi- 
tion, Vol. VI, p. 20. — Ed. 


ftven than for its own. And Yarrow too, and " Newark's 
towers "; and here I was introduced, not only by my 
father, but by Sir Walter Scott ; so one cannot imagine 
% place seen under happier circumstances. Our main 
object in leaving home was a visit to Abbotsford, which 
bad long been promised ; and Sir Walter's state of health, 
and his great wish to see my father, determined him to 
undertake the journey, late in the year as it was, and bad 
as were his eyes. When so near Edinburgh, it was a 
pity to return without a peep at that fine city; and 
then, finding travelling agreed with his eyes, we crept 
on into the Highlands, and as far as Mull. Staffa was 
the height of my travelling ambition, but that we could 
not accomplish; the steamboat had ceased to ply, and 
it was much too late to trust our precious lives to an 
open boat. ... I will only add a sonnet which was 
written a day or two after we left Abbotsford, which 
was only the day before Sir Walter was to quit it for 
Italy, and for his health's sake : 

A trouble, not of clouds, or weeping rain, etc. 

. . . All are well, father, mother, and aunts, the first- 
mentioned still prophesying ruin and desolation to this 
hitherto flourishing spot of earth. The evil which he 
foresees from this dreadful Reform Bill quite weighs his 
spirit down. Our tour was a happy event, for it gave 
fresh impulse to his muse, and he has been able to drown 
his political thoughts and feelings for a time in his poet- 
ical ones. We did not see a newspaper for five weeks, 
and only heard by accident of the bill being kicked out 
— were we not to be envied ? But I have got to we^ and 
Scotland again ! . . . 


. . . We have at present with os a very dear and old 
friend of my father's, Mr. Jones, his traveUing compamon 
in the pedestrian tour over the Alps. He lives in Wales, 
of which country, as his name tells, he is a native. . . . 
Your affectionate friend, 

Dora Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

Rydal Mount, October 27, 1831. 

... In a former letter you mention Francis Edge- 
worth. . . . He was struck with my mention of a sound 
in the eagle's notes much and frequently resembling the 
yelping and barking of a dog, and quoted a passage in 
^schylus where the eagle is called the flying hound of 
the air ; and he suggested that ^schylus might not only 
allude by that term to his being a bird of chase or prey, 
but also to this barking voice, which I do not recollect 
ever hearing noticed. The other day I was forcibly 
reminded of the circumstances under which the pair of 
eagles were seen that I described in my letter to Mr. 
Edgeworth, his brother. (It was at the promontory of 
Fair-head, on the coast of Antrim, and no spectacle could 
be grander.) At Dunolly Castle — a ruin situated at the 
tip of one of the horns of the bay of Oban — I saw, the 
other day, one of these noble creatures cooped up among 
the ruins, and was incited to give vent to my feelings, as 
you shall now see : 

Dishonoured rock and ruin ! that by law, etc.^ 
1 See Poetical Works, Vol. VII, p. 292.— Ed 


You will naturally wish to hear something of Sir Walter 
Scott, and particularly of his health. I found him a good 
deal changed within the last three or four years, in con- 
sequence of some shocks of the apoplectic kind, but his 
friends say that he is very much better; and the last 
accounts, up to the time of his going on board, were still 
more favourable. I trust the world and his friends may 
be hopeful, with good reason, that the life and faculties 
of this man — who has during the last six-and-twenty 
years diffused more innocent pleasure than ever fell to 
the lot of any human being to do in his own lifetime — 
may be spared. Voltaire, no doubt, was full as exten- 
sively known, and filled a larger space probably in the 
eye of Europe ; for he was a great theatrical writer (which 
Scott has not proved himself to be) and miscellaneous 
to such a degree that there was something for all classes of 
readers; but the pleasure afforded by his writings — with 
the exception of some of his tragedies and minor poems 
— was not pure, and in this Scott is greatly his superior. 
As Dora has told your sister. Sir W. was our guide to 
Yarrow ; the pleasure of that day induced me to add a 
third to the two poems upon Yarrow — Yarrow Revisited, 
It is in the same measure, and as much in the same 
spirit as matter of fact would allow. You are artist 
enough to know that it is next to impossible entirely to 
harmonise things that rest upon their poetic credibility, 
and are idealised by distance of time and space, with 
those that rest upon the evidence of the hour, and have 
about them the thorny points of actual life. ... 



William Wordsworth to Lady Frederick Bentinck^ 

^, J X J X. J . , Rydal Mount, Nov. 9. 

My dear Lady Fredenck, 

. . . You are quite right, dear Lady Frederick, in con- 
gratulating me on my late ramble in Scotland. For more 
than a month I scarcely saw a newspaper, or heard of 
their contents. During this time we almost forgot, my 
daughter and I, the deplorable state of the country. My 
spirits rallied, and, with exercise — for I often walked 
scarcely less than twenty miles a day — and the employ- 
ment of composing verses amid the most beautiful scenery, 
and at a season when the foliage was most rich and 
varied, the time fled away delightfully; and when we 
came back into the world again, it seemed as if I had 
waked from a dream that was never to return. We trav- 
elled in an open carriage with one horse, driven by Dora; 
and while we were in the Highlands I walked most of 
the way by the side of the carriage, which left us leisure 
to observe the beautiful appearances. The rainbows and 
coloured mists floating about the hills were more like 
enchantment than anything I ever saw, even among the 
Alps. There was in particular, the day we made the 
tour of Loch Lomond in the steamboat, a fragment of a 
rainbow, so broad, so splendid, so glorious with its reflec- 
tion in the calm water, that it astonished every one on 
board; a party of foreigners especially, who could not 
refrain from expressing their pleasure in a more lively 
manner than we are accustomed to. 

My object in going to Scotland so late in the season 
was to see Sir Walter Scott before his departure. We 

1 Lord Lonsdale's daughter. — Ed. 


stayed with him three days, and he quitted Abbotsford 
the day after we left it. His health has undoubtedly 
been much shattered by successive shocks of apoplexy, 
but his friends say he is so much recovered that they 
entertain good hopes of his life and faculties being spared. 
Mr. Lockhart tells me that he derived benefit by a change 
of treatment made by his London physicians, and that 
he embarked in good spirits. 

As to public affairs, I have no hope but in the good- 
ness of Almighty God. The Lords have recovered much 
of the credit they had lost by their conduct in the Roman 
Catholic question. As an Englishman I am deeply grate- 
ful for the stand which they have made, but I cannot 
help fearing that they may be seduced or intimidated. 
Our misfortune is, that those who disapprove of this 
monstrous bill give way to a belief that nothing can 
prevent its being passed ; and therefore they submit. 

As to the cholera, I cannot say it appals me much ; 
it may be in the order of Providence to employ this 
scourge for bringing the nation to its senses ; though his- 
tory tells us in the case of the plague at Athens, and 
other like visitations, that men are never so wicked and 
depraved as when afflictions of that kind are upon them. 
So that, after all, one must come round to our only sup- 
port, submission to the will of God, and faith in the ulti- 
mate goodness of his dispensations. 

I am sorry you did not mention your son, in whose health 
and welfare and progress in his studies I am always much 
interested. Pray remember me kindly to Lady Caroline. 
All here join with me in presenting their kindest remem- 
brances to yourself ; and believe me, dear Lady Frederick, 
Faithfully and affectionately yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

November 22, 1831. 

. . . Again and again I must repeat, that the composi- 
tion of verse is infinitely more of an art than men are 
prepared to believe, and absolute success in it depends 
upon innumerable minutia, which it grieves me you should 
stoop to acquire a knowledge of. Milton says of pouring 
"easy his unpremeditated verse." It would be harsh, 
untrue, and odious to say there is anything like cant in 
this ; but it is not true to the letter, and tends to mis- 
lead. I could point out to you five hundred passages in 
Milton, upon which labour has been bestowed, and twice 
five hundred more to which additional labour would have 
been serviceable ; not that I regret the absence of such 
labour, because no poem contains more proof of skill 
acquired by practice.^ . . . 

Coleridge's most intimate friend is Mr. Green, a man 
of science, and a distinguished surgeon. If you could 
procure an introduction to him, he would let you know 
the state of Coleridge's health ; and to Mr. Green, whom 
I once saw, you might use my name with a view to further 
your wish, if at all needful. 

Shakespeare's sonnets (excuse this leap) are not upon 
the Italian model, which Milton's are; they are merely 
quatrains with a couplet tacked to the end ; and if they 
depended much on the versification, they would unavoid- 
ably be heavy. 

^ Than Paradise Lost, he doubtless means. — Ed. 



One word upon Reform in Parliament, a subject to 
^hich somewhat reluctantly you allude. You are a 
reformer I Are you an approver of the bill as rejected 
by the Lords? or, to use Lord Grey's words, anything 
" as efficient " ? (he means — if he means anything — 
efficient for producing change). Then I earnestly 
exhort you to devote hours and hours to the study of 
human nature, in books, in life, and in your own mind ; 
and beg and pray that you will mix with society, not in 
Ireland and Scotland only, but in England. There is 
a fount of destiny, which if once poisoned, away goes 
all hope of quiet progress in well-doing. The Constitu- 
tion of England — which seems about to be destroyed 
— offers to my mind the sublimest contemplation which 
the history of Society and Government have ever pre- 
sented to it, — and for this cause especially, that its princi- 
ples have the character of preconceived ideas, archetypes 
of the pure intellect, while they are in fact the results of 
a humble-minded experience. Think about this. Apply 
it to what we are threatened with, and farewell. • . . 

Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, Friday, Decembe.r ist, 1831. 

My dear Friend, 

Had a rumour of your arrival in England reached us 
before your letter of yesterday's post you would ere this 
have received a welcoming from me, in the name of each 
member of this family; and further would have been 
reminded of your promise to come to Rydal as soon as 


possible after again setting foot on English ground. When \i 
Dora heard of your return, and of my intention to write, 
she exclaimed — after a charge that I would recall to your 
mind your written promise — " He must come and spend 
Christmas with us, I wish he would ! '' Thus you see, 
notwithstanding your petty jarrings, Dora was always, 
and now is, a loving friend of yours. I am sure I need 
not add that if you can come at the time mentioned, so 
much the more agreeable to us all, for it is fast approach- 
ing ; but that whenever it suits you (for you may have 
Christmas engagements with your own family) to travel 
so far northward we shall be rejoiced to see you ; and 
whatever other visitors we may chance to have, we shall 
always be able to find a corner for you. At present, 
though our nephew John, of Cambridge, is here, we have 
a vacant spare room which will most likely, if you do not 
come to occupy it, remain so during most part of the win- 
ter. We are thankful that you are returned with health 
unimpaired, I may say indeed, amended ; for you were 
not perfectly well when you left England. 

As to your being older, if you mean feebler in mind, 
my brother says, "No such thing; his judgment has 
only now attained autumnal ripeness." Indeed, my dear 
friend, I wonder not at your alarms, or those of any 
good man — whatever may have been the course of his 
politics from youth to middle age and onward to the 
decline of life, — but I will not enter on this sad, and 
perplexing, subject. I find it much more easy to look 
with calmness on the approach of pestilence, or any 
afRiction which it may please God to cast upon us with- 
out the intervention of man, than on the dreadful results 
of sudden and rash changes, whether arising from ambi- 
tion, or ignorance, or brute force; but I am getting into 


the subject without intending it, so will conclude with a 
prayer that God may enlighten the heads and hearts of 
our men of power, whether Whigs or Tories, and that the 
madness of the deluded people may settle. This last 
efEect can only be produced, I fear, by exactly and se- 
verely executing the law,V seeking out and punishing the 
guilty, and letting all persons see that we do not willingly 
oppress the poor. One blessing seems already to be 
coming upon, and through, the alarm of the cholera. 

Every rich man is now obliged to look into the miser- 
able by-lanes and corners inhabited by the poor, and many 
crying abuses are (even in our little town of Ambleside) 
about to be remedied. But to return to pleasant Rydal 
Mount, still cheerful and peaceful. If it were not for 
the newspapers, we should know nothing of the turbu- 
lence of our great towns and cities. Yet my poor brother 
is often heart-sick and almost desponding, and no wonder; 
for unto the point at which we are arrived, he has been a 
true prophet as to the course of events, dating from the 
** great days of July " and the appearance of the reform 
bill, " the whole bill, and nothing but the bill." It re- 
mains for us now to hope that Parliament may meet in a 
different temper from that in which it parted, and that 
the late dreadful events may make each man seek only to 
promote the peace and prosperity of the country. You 
will say that my brother looks older. He is certainly 
thinner, and has lost some of his teeth, but his bodily 
activity is not at all diminished ; and if it were not for 
public affairs his spirits would be as cheerful as ever. 
He and Dora visited Sir Walter Scott just before his 

^ Of late the greatest criminals have gone on undiscovered, or, if 
discovered, unpuxushed. — D. W. 


departure, and made a little tour in the western High- 
lands ; and — such was his leaning to old pedestrian hab- 
its — he often walked from fifteen to twenty miles in a day, 
following or by the side of the little carriage of which his 
daughter was the charioteer. They both very much en- 
joyed the tour, and my brother actually brought home a 
set of poems, the product of that journey. . . . You will 
be glad to hear also that my niece is grown strong and 

Her brother John is happily married and lives at 
Moresby, near Whitehaven, being rector of Moresby. 
His wife is one of the best of good creatures. William 
returned from Germany much improved, and with strong 
likings to that country. He is now living at Carlisle 
very contented, if our financiers will suffer him so to 
remain, on an income of ;^i5o per annum, as his father's 
subdistributor. Miss Hutchinson is well, and begs her 
kind regards to you. It recorfciled me in some degree 
to my misdoings to hear that some of your friends' letters 
had miscarried during your wanderings. The truth is, 
that in spite of wishes and intentions, and of gratitude 
and pleasure for your most interesting letter from Rome, 
I did not once write. . . . We were glad you had seen 
Charles and Mary Lamb and Mrs. Clarkson, and thank- 
ful for as good a report of them as we had a right to 
expect. My brother. Dr. Wordsworth, is in much better 
health than last winter. His son John was ill for some 
time after getting his Fellowship, but is now in tolerable 
health, and seems to be very happy among us, though we 
have each and all our share of apprehension and uneasi- 
ness. Fires, riots, and burking, not to speak of chol- 
era, haunt every family circle. This morning is so warm 
and sunny that I now sit opposite an open window. 


Were you here on this day you would say our country 
wants not summer, and leafy trees, to make it beautiful. 

We shall expect and wish for your promised long 
letter, if you do not write a short one to tell us that you 
are coming. 

I could fill my scraps of paper, under the seal, etc., 
but am called away, so God bless you. 

Ever your aflfectionate friend, 

D. Wordsworth. 

Christopher Wordsworth is in Italy. Charles has pupils 
at Oxford.^ 

William Wordsworth to J. K, Miller^ 

Rydal Mount, Kendal, Dec. 17, 1831. 
My dear Sir, • 

You have imputed my silence, I trust, to some cause 
neither disagreeable to yourself nor unworthy of me. 
Your letter of the 26th of November had been misdirected 
to Penrith, where the postmaster detained it some time, 
expecting probably that I would come to that place, 
which I have often occasion to visit. When it reached 
me I was engaged in assisting my wife to make out 
some of my mangled and almost illegible MSS, which 
inevitably involved me in endeavours to correct and 
improve them. My eyes are subject to frequent inflam- 
mations, of which I had an attack (and am still suffering 
from it) while that was going on. You would, neverthe- 
less, have heard from me almost as soon as I received 

1 W. E. Gladstone was one of them. — Ed. 

^ The Vicar of Walkeringham in Nottingham. — Ed. 


your letter could I have replied to it in terms in any d^ee 
accordant to my wishes. Your exhortations troubled me 
in a way you cannot be in the least aware of; for I 
have been repeatedly urged by some of my most valued 
friends, and at times by my own conscience, to undertake 
the task you have set before me. But I will deal frankly 
with you. A conviction of my incompetence to do jus- 
tice to the momentous subject has kept me, and I fear 
will keep me, silent. My sixty-second year will soon be 
completed, and though I have been favoured thus far in 
health and strength beyond most men of my age, yet I 
feel its effects upon my spirits ; they sink under a pressure 
of apprehension to which, at an earlier period of my life, 
they would probably have been superior. There is yet 
another obstacle : I am no ready master of prose writing, 
having been little practised in the art. This last con- 
sideration will not weigh with you; nor would it have 
done with myself a few years ago ; but the bare mention 
of it will serve to show that years have deprived me of 
courage, in the sense the word bears when applied by 
Chaucer to the animation of birds in spring time. 

What I have already said precludes the necessity of 
otherwise confirming your assumption that I am opposed 
to the spirit you so justly characterise as revolutionary. 
To your opinions upon this subject my judgment (if I 
may borrow your own word) " responds." Providence is 
now trying this empire through her political institu- 
tions. Sound minds find their expediency in principles; 
unsound, their principles in expediency. On the pro- 
portion of these minds to each other the issue depends. 
From calculations of partial expediency in opposition 
to general principles, whether those calculations be gov- 
erned by fear or presumption, nothing but mischief is to 

TO J. K. MILLER 477 

be looked for ; but, in the present stage of our afiEairs, 
the class that does the most harm consists of well-inten- 
tioned men, who, being ignorant of human nature, think 
that they may help the thorough-paced reformers and 
revolutionists to a certain point, then stop, and that the 
machine will stop with them. After all, the question is, 
fundamentally, one of piety and morals ; of piety, as dis- 
posing men who are anxious for social improvement to 
wait patiently for God's good time ; and of morals, as 
guarding them from doing evil that good may come, or 
thinking that any ends can be so good as to justify wrong 
means for attaining them. In fact, means, in the concerns 
of this life, are infinitely more important than ends, which 
are to be valued mainly according to the qualities and 
virtues requisite for their attainment ; and the best test 
of an end being good is the purity of the means, which, 
by the laws of God and our nature, must be employed in 
order to secure it. Even the interests of eternity become 
distorted the moment they are looked at through the 
medium of impure means. Scarcely had I written this, 
when I was told by a person in the Treasury, that it is 
intended to carry the Reform Bill by a new creation of 
peers. If this be done, the constitution of England will 
be destroyed, and the present Lord Chancellor, after 
having contributed to murder it, may consistently enough 
pronounce, in his place, its kloge funkbre I 

I turn with pleasure to the sonnets you have addressed 
to me, and if I did not read them with unqualified satisfac- 
tion it was only from consciousness that I was unworthy 
of the encomiums they bestowed upon me. 

Among the papers I have lately been arranging are 
passages that would prove, as forcibly as anything of 
mine that has been published, you were not mistaken 



in your supposition that it is the habit ci my mind 

inseparably to connect loftiness of imagination with that 

humility of mind which is best taught in Scripture. 

Hoping that you will be indulgent to my silence, which 

has been, from various causes, protracted contrary to my 


Believe me to be, dear sir, 

Very faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Correspondent Unknown 

[No name or date,] [1831.] 
My dear Sir, 

On the other side see a list of errata^ some of which 
are so important and so mischievous to the sense that I 
beg they may be struck off instantly upon a slip of paper 
or separate leaf, and inserted in such books as are not 
yet dispersed. For one of these errata^ perhaps more, 
I am answerable. 

Tell Mr. Hine,^ to whom I wish to write as soon as I 
can find time, that I think the collection judiciously made. 
When you mentioned " notes," I was afraid of them, and 
I regret much the one at the end was not suppressed ; 
nor is that about the editorial nut-cracks happily exe- 
cuted. But Mr. Hine is an original person, and there- 
fore allowance must be made for his oddities. He feels 
the poetry, and that is enough. His preface does him 

great credit. _ , , 

Ever and most truly yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

1 Joseph Hine, the compiler of a volume of Selections from the 
Poems 0/ William Wordsworth (1831). — Ed. 



William Wordsworth to Basil Montagu 


. . . What you Londoners may think of public affairs 
I know not; but I forebode the not very distant over- 
throw of the Institutions under which this country has so 
long prospered. The Liberals of our neighbourhood tell 
me that the mind of the nation has outgrown its Institu- 
tions; rather say, I reply, that it has shrunk and dwin- 
dled from them, as the body of a sick man does from his 

We are on fire with zeal to educate the poor, which 
would be all very well if that zeal did not blind us to 
what we stand still more in need of, an improved educa- 
tion of the middle and upper classes; which ought to 
begin in our great Public Schools, thence ascend to the 
Universities (from which the first suggestion should come), 
and descend to the very nursery. 

If the books from which your Selections'^ are made 
were the favourite reading of men of rank and influence, 
I should dread little from the discontented in any class. 
But what hope is there of such a rally in our debilitated 
intellects? The soundest hearts I meet with are, with 
few exceptions, Americans. They seem to have a truer 
sense of the benefits of our government than we ourselves 
have. Farewell, with many thanks. 

Yours faithfully, 

W. W. 

1 The volume was probably his Selections from the Works of 
Taylor i Hooker ^ Hall, and Lord Bacon, with an Analysis of the 
Advancement of Learning. — Ed. 


William Wordsworth to Christopher Wordsworth 

My dear Brother, 

... I have myself been moving about a good deal, 
twice on business; it is lucky for me that my engage- 
ments of that kind must of necessity lead me through a 
beautiful country. Last Friday I was called to Ulverstone. 
I went down the side of Coniston water; and returned 
by Broughton up the Duddon, and over Wrynose. The 
vale of Duddon I had never seen at this season, and was 
much charmed with it. Most of the cottages are em- 
bowered in fir trees mixed with sycamore, and in laurel, 
which thrives luxuriantly in the sheltered vale, and at 
this season is most pleasant to look upon. John ^ was 
my companion ; we parted five miles up the Duddon, he 
turning up over Birker Moor for Whitehaven. ... 

What you tell us of Mr. Rose's * success as a preacher 
is highly gratifying. He is a sincere, devout man, and, I 
suppose, very industrious. How honourable is it to your 
University that such crowds go to hear him ! He is out, 
or you are out, about Laodamia. No stanza is omitted.* 
The last but one is, however, substantially altered. I 
have disliked the alteration; but I cannot bring my 
mind to reject it. As first written * the heroine was dis- 
missed to happiness in elysium. To what purpose then 

^ Probably his son, although the poet had two nephews who were 
named John. — Ed. 

3 Hugh James Rose. — Ed. 

' In the text of the edition of 1827. — Ed. 

* In the edition of 18 15. — Ed. 


the mission of Protesilaus ? He exhorts her to moderate 
her passion, the exhortation is fruitless, and no punish- 
ment follows. So it stood. At present^ she is placed 
among unhappy ghosts for disregard of the exhortation. 
Virgil also places her there; but compare the two pas- 
sages, and give me your opinion. I have said any pun- 
ishment, stopping short of the future world, would have 
been reasonable; but not the melancholy one I have 
imposed, as she was not a voluntary suicide. Who shall 
decide, when doctors disagree } Do not let your etymo- 
logical researches interfere with your fellowship stud- 

ICO. • • • 

Ever faithfully yours, 

W. W. 


William Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Saturday, [1831.] 
My dear Sir, 

It was taking no small liberty to entangle you and Mrs. 
Kenyon in our little economical arrangements. I am 
pleased, however, with having done so ; as it has been 
the occasion of my hearing from you again. Your 
eloquence, as the heart has so much to do in it, has 
prevailed, and we will order a chaise to be here on 
Wednesday next in time for our reaching Brighton by 
five — perhaps earlier — but if the day prove fine I should 
like to stop an hour at Lewes to look round me. 

You seem to lead a dissipated life, you and Mrs. Ken- 
yon ; but I have no right to reproach you. I have left 

^ In the edition of 1827, and in all subsequent ones. — £d. 


my brother's quiet fireside^ for the last two days to dine 
with two several magistrates at Uckfield, where, of course, 
I heard rather too much of obstinate juries (grand and 
petty), burnings, poor rates, cash payments, and that 
everlasting incubus of universal agricultural distress. 

Five times have I dined while at Busted at the table 
of an earl, and twice in the company of a prince.* There- 
fore let you and Mrs. Kenyon prepare yourselves for 
something stately and august in my deportment and 
manners 1 But king, queen, prince, princess, dukes, etc, 
are common articles at Brighton, so that I must descend 
from my elevation, or pass for a downright Malvolio ! 

I congratulate you upon being ^^radicalized. I wish, 
however, the change had taken place under less threaten- 
ing circumstances. The idle practice of recrimination is 
becoming general. The Whigs upbraid the Tories as 
authors of the mischief which all feel, by withstanding 
reform so obstinately ; and the Tories reproach the Whigs 
with having done sdl the harm by incessant bawling for 
ii>. ... 

^ Dr. Christopher Wordsworth was rector of Buxted-with-Uckfield 
from 1820 to 1846. — Ed. 

3 There he met William the Fourth, and Queen Adelaide.— Ed. 



William Wordsworth to John Kenyon 

Rydal Mount, 26th January, [1832.] 

My dear Mr. Kenyon, 

You have enriched my house by a very valuable pres- 
ent, an entire collection of all that it is desirable to pos- 
sess among Hogarth's prints. The box also contained a 
quarto volume, Hogarth Illustrated^ and three volumes of 
a French work for Mr. Southey, which shall be forwarded 
to him. I have been thus particular as, because there 
was no letter within the box, perhaps it was not made up 
under your own eye, and I am now at a loss where to 
direct to you. 

We are great admirers of Hogarth, and there are per- 
haps few houses to which such a collection would be 
more welcome ; and living so much in the country, as we 
all do, it is both gratifying and instructive to have such 
scenes of London life to recur to, as this great master has 

You are probably aware that he was of Westmorland 
extraction. His name is very common hereabouts, and it 
is amusing to speculate on what his genius might have 
produced if, instead of being born and bred in London, — 
whither his father went from Westmorland, — he had been 


early impressed by the romantic scenery of this neigh- 
bourhood, and had watched the manners and employ- 
ments of our rustics. It is remarkable that his pictures, 
differing in this from the Dutch and Flemish masters, 
are almost exclusively confined to indoor scenes or city 
life. Is this to be regretted } I cannot but think it is, 
for he was a most admirable painter, as may be seen by 
his works in the British Gallery ; and how pleasant would 
it have been to have had him occasionally show his knowl- 
edge of character, manners, and passion by groups under 
the shade of trees, and by the side of waters, in appropri- 
ate rural dresses. He reminds me both of Shakespeare and 
Chaucer ; but these great poets seem happy in softening 
and diversifying their views of life, as often as they can, 
by metaphors and images from rural nature, or by shift- 
ing the scene of action into the quiet of groves or forests. 
What an exquisite piece of relief of this kind occurs in 
T/t€ Merchant of Venice^ where, after the agitating trial 
of Antonio, we have Lorenzo and Jessica sitting in the 
open air on the bank on which the moonlight is sleeping 
— but enough. 

Since I last heard from you I have received, and care 
fully read, with great pleasure, the poems of your friend 
Baillie. The scenes among which they were written are 
mainly unknown to me, for I never was farther south in 
France than St. Valier on the Rhone, where I turned off 
to the Grand Chartreuse, a glorious place. Were you 
ever there ? I think you told me you were. 

Mr. B. has, however, interested me very much in his 
sketches of those countries, and strengthened the desire 
I have had all my life to see them, particularly the Ro- 
man antiquities there, which H. C. Robinson tells me are 
greatly superior to any in Italy, a few in Rome excepted. 


I do not know where Mr. Baillie is now to be addressed. 
I beg, therefore, if you be in communication with him, or 
with any of his friends who are, you would be so kind as 
to have my thanks conveyed to him, both for his little 
volume and the accompanying letter. 

It is now time to say a word or two about ourselves. 
We are all well, except my sister, who, you will be sorry 
to hear, has been five weeks confined to her room by a 
return of the inflammatory complaint which shattered her 
constitution three years ago. She is, God be thanked, 
convalescent, and will be able to take her place at our 
fireside in a day or two, if she goes on as well as lately. 

We long to know something about yourself, Mrs. Ken- 
yon, and your brother. Pray write to us soon. 

We have had a most charming winter for weather ; 
Hastings could scarcely be warmer ; and as to beauty, the 
situation of Rydal Mount at this season is matchless. I 
shall direct to your brother-in-law's house, as the best 
chance for my letter reaching you. 

Farewell, and believe me, with every good wish. 

Faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Rydal Mount, Feb. 17th, 1832. 

... As you have done me the honour of asking my 
opinion on Lord H.'s ^ letter, I will give it without reserve. 
. . . The facts upon which Lord H.'s proposal of compro- 
mise is grounded are an increased majority in the Commons 

iLord Holland. — Ed. 


in favour of the bill, and a belief that the Ministers have 
a carte blanche for creating Peers to carry it. . . . Is 
it not in the power of any councillors having access to 
the King to convince him not only of the ruinous tend- 
ency of such a step, but to make him feel, as a point of 
duty, that whatever power the forms of law may give him 
to create Peers for setting aside their deliberate resolve, 
the spirit of the Constitution allows him no right to do 
so ? for the application of such power to particular emer- 
gencies is subversive of the principle for which the Peers 
mainly exist. Again, the Ministers opened the question 
of reform with a most solemn declaration that it was a 
measure indispensable for the preservation of the Consti- 
tution, and adopted in order to preserve it. Yet for the 
sake of carrying their bill they are prepared to destroy a 
vital organ of that Constitution. A virtual destruction it 
certainly would be ; for it would convert the House of 
Lords into a mere slave of any succeeding Ministry, 
which, should it not bend to threats, would immediately 
create new votes to counterbalance the Opposition. Can- 
not, then. Lord Grey and his coadjutors be brought — by 
a respect for reason, or by a sense of shame from being 
involved in such a contradiction and absurdity — to desist 
from that course ? . . . 

As to the alternative of compromise, I agree with Mr. 
Southey in thinking that little is to be gained by it but 
time for profiting by contingencies. Would the House of 
Lords be sure of making such alterations in their com- 
mittee as would render the bill much less mischievous? 
or, if they should, would the Lower House pass the bill so 
amended ? The manner in which the committee of the 
Commons dealt with it is far from encouraging. . . . 
Suppose, however, the bill to be much improved in passing 


through the committee of the Lords, and accepted by 
the Commons, how do we then stand ? We have a House 
of Lords, not overwhelmed indeed by new members, but 
in spirit broken, and brought down upon its knees. The 
bill is passed, and Parliament, I presume, speedily dis- 
solved ; for the agitators of the poUtical unions would 
clamour for this, which neither the present Ministry, 
nor any likely to succeed them, would resist, even did 
they think it right to do so. Then comes a new House 
of Commons, to what degree radical, under the best 
possible modification of the present bill, one fears to 
think. It proposes measures which the House of Lords 
would resist as revolutionary, but dares not for fear of 
being served in the way that was threatened to secure 
the passing of the reform bill ; and so we hasten step by 
step to the destruction of that Constitution in form, the 
spirit of which had been destroyed before. . . . 

If a new reform bill cannot be brought forward and 
carried by a strong appeal to the sense, and not to the 
passions, of the country, I think there is no rational 
ground for hope. And here one is reminded of the folly 
and the rashness, not to touch upon the injustice, of 
creating such a gap in the old constituency as it is scarcely 
possible to fill up without endangering the existence of 
the State. Nevertheless, I cannot but think that the 
country might still be preserved from revolution by a 
more sane Ministry, which would undertake the question 
of reform with prudence and sincerity, combining with 
that measure wiser views in finance. . . . 

It has ever been the habit of my mind to trust that 
expediency will come out of fidelity to principles, rather 
than to seek my principle of action in calculations of 
expediency. ... 


William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

Rydal Mount, Feb. 24th, 1832. 
My Lord, 

. . . The ministers have declared over and over that 
they will not abate a jot of the principle of the bill. 
Through the whole of the debates in both houses, but 
particularly in the Commons, there has been a confusion 
between principle and the rules and measures of apply- 
ing principle. The main or fundamental principle of this 
bill is an assumed necessity for an increase of democratic 
power in the legislature ; accordingly, the ministers have 
resolved upon a sweeping destruction. This, which may 
be called a rule, or subsidiary principle, has been applied 
to the existing constituency in its three great branches, — 
the Burgage Tenures, the Freemen, and the Freeholders. 
What havoc has been made in the first we all know. The 
second, the Freemen, were destroyed, and are restored. 
Upon the third I cannot speak with the precision which 
I could wish, not distinctly recollecting the manner in 
which the votes of a portion of this body are to be 
affected by the franchise conferred upon them as ;f 10 
voters in towns, or retained as Freemen. None of this 
class of voters have been deprived of their right of voting 
without an equivalent, so that the change which time has 
effected in making — by the reduction in the value of 
money — the body of Freeholders so democratic, is left 
in its full force, and made more dangerous by new cir- 
cumstances. Now, is it to be expected that the Lords 
in committee could succeed in a scheme for a less sweep- 
ing and less unjust destruction of the old constituency? 
Lord H. himself does not seem to expect it. 


The only source, then, to which we can look for any 
improvement must be in supplying the gap in a less 
objectionable w^y. Numbers and property are the prin- 
ciples here. In order to foresee how the Ministry are likely 
to act, we must inquire how their power is composed. 
They know themselves that if it were not for the reform 
bill they must go out instantly. As constitutional Whigs, 
supposed to be actuated by a sincere wish to preserve the 
British Constitution, the leaders of them are already, as a 
party, annihilated. They are the tools of men bent on the 
destruction of Church and State. Even in their opinions 
many who continue to call themselves Whigs are scarcely 
by a shade distinguishable from the Radicals. But though 
such is the character of so many of their prominent leaders, 
there is diffused through the country a large body of Whig 
partisans, who, could their eyes be opened, would cease to 
support them, especially if they had hopes of a more moder- 
ate measure from other quarters — but they are not likely 
to be undeceived till too late. The Ministry, I repeat, are 
under Radical dictation; does not the mere act of the 
late appointment to the Secretaryship of War show it? 
Still further to propitiate the political unions, Hume and 
Warburton will follow him into office, who can say how 
soon ? Whatever, therefore, the Ministry in conscience 
think prudent and proper, they would not have the cour- 
age to act upon it, even supposing, as Lord H. suggests, 
that the more moderate men in the House, and those 
who have the fear of a Radical Parliament hanging over 
their heads, should support such improvement coming 
from the Lords. The Ministry would act, as your Lord- 
ship anticipates, by creating new peers, by seduction, 
and, I lament to say, by intimidation, and encouraging 
or conniving at agitation out of doors. 


But to come to particulars. Could the ;^io franchise 
be altered, or the delegation — for I will not call it repre- 
sentation — from London and its neighbourhood? As 
to the large towns all over the country, a worse source 
for a new constituency than ;£'io voters, they do not— 
in my judgment — contain. But, take smaller places, and 
less populous districts. Mr. Senhouse thinks ;^io not a 
bad qualification for Cumberland. Look then at Cocker- 
mouth, and read Mr. Green's late advertisement. He 
may be a man of poor talents, and sorry discretion, but 
he is no stranger there. He was bom, bred, and has 
long been a resident in the place. He may therefore 
reasonably be supposed to be acquainted with the pres- 
ent opinions and dispositions of the ;^io renters in that 
town, to whom he would recommend himself, in the event 
of the bill passing. He tells them '' that he has for many 
years been reproached for being a Jacobin, a Radical, 
and a Leveller" — unjustly, he insinuates, — that a reform 
is wanted for making a great change in the present state 
of things. " Do not, however, suppose," he adds, " that 
I wish to see reform run into revolution. The conduct 
of the King, forming as it does a glorious contrast to that 
of most of the Sovereigns that for half a century have 
appeared in Europe, has justly entitled him to the preserva- 
tion of his crown, etc. The conduct of the Ministers, 
too, who have aided and counselled him in his efforts for 
the public good, must not be forgotten ; they all, or 
nearly all, belong to — or are 'connected with — the hered- 
itary aristocracy, and by their services have at once 
entitled themselves to our gratitude," etc., etc. Now 
what is all this but to say that the moment the king or 
the aristocracy do not please Mr. G. and his future con- 
stituents he will turn upon them, and, if he can, will 


destroy the monarchy and peerage together. Judge, my 
LfOrd, of my indignation when I read this trash — con- 
temptible, were it not so pernicious in this emergency — 
addressed to the inhabitants of my native town. 

Now for the delegation of London, etc., with the vast 
population there and in its neighbourhood, to back the 
agitators whenever they shall choose to call upon it. 
Can Lord H. expect that the Ministry would consent to 
any improvement in this department? Yet nothing is 
more clear to a sane mind than that the government by 
King, Lords, and Commons, and not only government, 
but property, in a state of society so artificial as ours, 
cannot long stand up against such a pressure. When I 
was in London last spring I mixed a good deal with the 
Radicals, and know from themselves what their aims are, 
and how they expect to accomplish them. One person 
at least, now high in office, is looked up to as their future 
head, and allowed at present to play a false part. It is 
not rationally to be expected that the present ministry 
would allow the delegation, as I have called it, of London 
and its neighbourhood, to be of a less obnoxious con- 
struction than the bill makes it. 

Let us now look at the other side — the uncompromis- 
ing resistance and its apprehended consequences in 
swamping the House of Lords, and passing the bill in 
its present state, not perhaps without popular commo- 
tions. The risk attending such resistance with this or 
any ministry not composed of firm-minded and truly 
intelligent men is, I own, so great as to alarm any one ; 
but I should have no fear of popular commotion were 
the Government what it might be, and ought to be. The 
overthrow of the government of Charles X, and the late 
events in Bristol, prove what mischief may be done by a 




mere rabble, if the executive be either faithless or foolish. 
Seeing the perilous crisis to which we are come, I am 
nevertheless persuaded that, could a conservative Minis- 
try be established, the certain ruin that will follow on the 
passing of this bill might be avoided. Thousands of 
respectable people have supported both bills, not as 
approving of a measure of this character or extent, but 
from fear that otherwise no reform at all would take place. 
Such men would be ready to support more moderate 
plans if they found the executive in hands that could be 
relied upon. Too true it is, no doubt, as Lord H. has 
observed, that opinions as to the extent and nature of 
advisable reform differ so widely as to throw great diffi- 
culties in the way of a new bill. But these, in my hum- 
ble opinion, might be got over, so far as to place us upon 
ground allowing hope for the future. 

In looking at the rule for applying the principle of 
numbers to supply a part of the new constituency, or 
govern the retention of the old, I have only considered 
London and its neighbourhood. As far as I know, this 
principle is altogether an innovation, and what contra- 
dictions and anomalies does it involve? The Lords 
would not probably attempt an improvement here. Had 
such a rule come down to us from past times, had we 
been habituated to it, it might have been possible to 
improve its application. But how can any thinking man 
expect that with the example of America and France 
before us — not deterring the people, but inciting them 
to imitation — this innovation can ever find rest but in 
universal suffrage. Manchester is only to have two 
members, with its vast population, and Cockermouth is 
to retain one with its bare five thousand ! Will not Man- 
chester and Birmingham, etc., point on the one hand to 



the increased representation of London and its neighbour- 
hood, and on the other to the small places which, for their 
paltry numbers, are allowed to retain one or two votes in 
the House; and to towns of the size of Kendal and White- 
haven, which for the first time are to send each a mem- 
ber ? Will Manchester and Birmingham be content ? Is 
it reasonable that they should be content with the princi- 
ple of numbers so unjustly and absurdly applied ? This 
anomaly, which is ably treated in the American Review^ 
brings one to the character and tendency of this reform. 

As Sir J. B. Walsh observes in his pamphlet, from 
which I saw an extract the other day in a newspaper : 
" Extensive, sudden, and experimental innovation is dia- 
metrically opposed to the principle of progressiveness, 
which in every art, science, and path of human intellect 
is gradual. . . ." 

. . . Our Constitution was not preconceived and 
planned beforehand ; it grew under the protection of 
Providence, as a skin grows to, with, and for the human 
body. Our Ministers would flay this body, and present 
us, instead of its natural skin, with a garment made to 
order, which, if it be not rejected, will prove such a shirt 
as, in the fable, drove Hercules to madness and self- 
destruction. May God forgive that part of them who, 
acting in this affair with their eyes open, have already 
gone so far towards committing a greater political crime 
than any recorded in history ! . . . 



William Wordsworth to the Editor of the 
Philological Mtiseum 

[Rydal Mount, 1832.] 

. . . Your letter reminding me of an expectation I some 
time since held out to you, of allowing some specimens of 
my translation from the yEneid to be printed in the Philo- 
logical Muscunty was not very acceptable; for I had 
abandoned the thought of ever sending into the world 
any part of that experiment — it was nothing more — 
an experiment begun for amusement, and, I now think, 
a less fortunate one than when I first named it to you. 
Having been displeased, in modern translations, with the 
additions of incongruous matter, I began to translate 
with a resolve to keep clear of that fault, by adding 
nothing ; but I became convinced that a spirited transla- 
tion can scarcely be accomplished in the English language 
without admitting a principle of compensation. On this 
point, however, I do not wish to insist ; and merely send 
the following passage, taken at random, from a desire to 
comply with your request. . . . 

W. W. 

William Wordsworth to Lord Lonsdale 

^, -r , [1832.] 

My Lord, ^ ^ ■' 

Many thanks for your obliging letter. I shall be much 
gratified if you happen to like my translation, and thank- 
ful for any remarks with which you may honour me. I 


have made so much progress with the second book that 
I defer sending the former till that is finished. It takes 
in many places a high tone of passion, which I would 
gladly succeed in rendering. When I read Virgil in the 
original I am moved; but not so much so by the transla- 
tion ; and I cannot but think this is owing to a defect in 
the diction, which I have endeavoured to supply, with 
what success you will easily be enabled to judge. 
Ever, my Lord, 

Most faithfully your obliged friend and servant, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Taylor 


. . . You are young, and therefore will naturally have 
more hope of public affairs than I can. Seeing princi- 
ples — which after all are the only things worth contend- 
ing about — sacrificed every day, in a manner which I 
have foreseen since the passing of the reform bill, and 
indeed long before, does not the less disturb me. The 
predominance given in Parliament to the dissenting 
interest, and to towns which have grown up recently, 
without a possibility of their being trained in habits of 
attachment either to the Constitution in Church and 
State, or what remained of the feudal frame of society in 
this country, will inevitably bring on a political and social 
revolution. What may be suffered by the existing gener- 
ation no man can foresee, but the loss of liberty for a 
time will be the inevitable consequence. Despotism will 
be established, and the whole battle will have to be fought 
over by subsequent generations. . , . 




William Wordsworth to Alaric Watts 

My dear Sir, 

I have to thank you, I presume, for a copy of The Sou- 
venir for 1832, just received. ... I have been much 
pleased with Mrs. Watts's Choice^ Mrs. Howitt's Infancy^ 
Youth^ and Age^ and your own Conversazione — a great 
deal too clever for the subjects which you have here and 
there condescended to handle. The rest of the volume 
I shall hope to peruse at leisure. I fear the state of the 
times must affect the annuals, as well as all other litera- 
ture. I am told, indeed, that many of the booksellers are 
threatened with ruin. I enclose a sonnet for your next 
volume, if you choose to insert it. It would have ap- 
peared with more advantage in this year's, but was not 
written in time. It is proper I should mention that it 
has been sent to Sir Walter Scott and one or two of my 
other friends; so that you had best not print it till 
towards the latter sheets of your volume, lest it should 
steal by chance into publication, for which I have given 
no permission. Should that happen I will send you some 
other piece. 

I remain, my dear sir. 

Sincerely your obliged 

Wm. Wordsworth. 


William Wordsworth to John Gardner 

Rydal Mount, March 12th, [1832.] 

The intended edition of my poems is to be compressed 
into four volumes. There will be no additions beyond 
what appeared in The Keepsake two or three years ago, 
and a sonnet or two which have already seen the light. 

... It is to be apprehended that the French edition 
will still continue to injure the English sale. 

I say nothing of politics. The foolish and wicked only 
appear to be active, and therefore it is plain that confu- 
sion and misery will follow. . . . 

William Wordsworth to William Rowan Hamilton 

Moresby, June 25, 1832. 

. . . My dear sister has been languishing more than 
seven months in a sick-room, nor dare I or any of her 
friends entertain a hope that her strength will ever be 
restored ; and the course of public affairs, as I think I 
told you before, threatens, in my view, destruction to the 
institutions of the country; an event which, whatever 
may rise out of it hereafter, cannot but produce distress 
and misery for two or three generations at least. At any 
time I am at best but a poor and unpunctual correspond- 
ent, yet I am pretty sure you would have heard from me 
but for this reason ; therefore let the statement pass for 
^n apology as far as you think fit. . . . 


It gives me much pleasure that you and Coleridge have 
met, and that you were not disappointed in the conversa- 
tion of a man from whose writings you had previously 
drawn so much delight and improvement. He and my 
beloved sister are the two beings to whom my intellect is 
most indebted, and they are now proceeding, as it were/jn 
passu^ along the path of sickness — I will not say towards 
the grave, but I trust towards a blessed immortality. 

It was not my intention to write so seriously ; my heart is 
full, and yoa must excuse it. You do not tell me how you like 
Cambridge as a place, nor what you thought of its buildings 
and other works of art. Did you not see Oxford as well ? 
It has greatly the advantage over Cambridge in its happy 
intermixture of streets, churches, and collegiate buildings. 

... A fortnight ago I came hither to my son and 
daughter, who are living a gentle, happy, quiet, and use- 
ful life together. My daughter Dora is also with us. . . . 
A week ago Mr. W. S. Landor, the poet and author of 
Imaginary Conversations (which probably have fallen 
in your way), appeared here. We had never met before, 
though several letters had passed between us, and as I 
had not heard that he was in England, my gratification 
in seeing him was heightened by surprise. We passed 
a day together at the house of my friend Mr. Rawson, on 
the banks of Wast- Water. His conversation is lively and 
original, his learning great, though he will not allow it, 
and his laugh the heartiest I have heard for a long time. 
It is, I think, not much less than twenty years since he 
left England for France and afterwards Italy, where he 
hopes to end his days, — nay, has fixed near Florence 
upon the spot where he wishes to be buried.* 

1 His grave is in the Protestant Cemetery at Florence, not far 
from where Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Arthur Hugh Clough 
were afterwards buried. — Ed. 


William Wordsworth to Henry Crabb Robinson 

Rydal Mount, July 21st, [Postmark, 1832.] 

My dear Friend, 

We were truly glad to hear from you after so long a 
silence. The ladies you mention are distant relations of 
ours, and we should have been glad to serve them had it 
been in our power. One of them wrote to my sister 
above a year ago, and several letters passed between 
them. Long after my sister had fallen ill, and only a few 
weeks ago, Mrs. Wordsworth took up the correspondence, 
and told them, in reply to a like request, that there were 
no collections of pictures in this neighbourhood that she 
was acquainted with save the Earl of Lonsdale's, which 
by the bye is very small. Mrs. W. added such observa- 
tions as she thought right upon the subject. Mr. Bolton, 
of Storrs upon Windermere, has also some pictures, 
and I am told that a Mr. Maucker of Liverpool, who 
has lately settled near Ambleside, has also some good 
ones, but I have never seen them. I regret not being able 
to do an3rthing to further the views of these ladies. This 
country holds out little temptation in their way. Should 
it suit them to take a lodging at Bowness, there would be 
no difficulty in getting access to Mr. Bolton's pictures; 
nor, were the ladies at Ambleside, to Mr. Maucker's, 
though I cannot say he is of my acquaintance. As to 
the pictures at Lowther, they could only be copied by 
some person staying in the house, there being no accom- . 
modation for lodgers in the neighbourhood. 

There used to be a few Claude's at Lord George Caven- 
dish's (Holkar Hall), near Cartmell, not far from their 


present abode ; and, as the family are seldom there, these 
might easily be got at 

You will grieve to hear that your invalid friend, my 
dear sister, never quits her room but for a few minutes, 
and we think is always weakened by the exertion. She 
is, however, God be praised, in a contented and happy 
state of mind. . . . 

To my great surprise and pleasure Landor appeared at 
Moresby near Whitehaven (having come by steam from 
Liverpool), when I was on a visit there to my son. I fol- 
lowed him to Wastdale, where I spent a day in the same 
house with him. We went on through Borrowdale to Mr. 
Southey^s. He appears to be a most warm-hearted man, 
his conversation very animated, and he has the heartiest 
and happiest laugh I ever heard from a man of his years. 

You designate yourself "a conservative Whig." I 
could not but smile at both substantive and adjective. 
You and men of your opinions have piloted the vessel, 
and navigated her into the breakers, where neither Whig 
nor Tory can prevent her being dashed .to pieces. I 
shall look out for the quietest nook I can find in the cen- 
ter of Austria, where I shall be glad to give you welcome 
to a crust when you shall be tired of improving a thank- 
less world. 

You would observe that a cheap edition of my poems 
is advertised in four volumes. Help the sale, if you can, 
till I get back my own money, which I shall have to ad- 
vance to the amount of four or five hundred pounds. My 
terms of publication are two thirds of the risk and expense 
for what the publisher calls two thirds of the profit — 
but this if I recollect right I told you before. 

Yesterday I was on the top of Helvellyn with my friend 
Mr. Julius Hare of Trinity College, Dr. Arnold, Master 


of Rugby, — as keen a reformer as yourself, or any other 
dissenting Tory, — and Mr. Hamilton, author of Cyril 
Thornton^ etc., etc., also a brother of Professor Buckland. 
We tempered our brandy with water from the highest, 
and we will therefore infer the purest, spring in England, 
and had as pleasant a day as any middle-aged gentlemen 
need wish for, except for certain sad recollections that 
weighed upon my heart. Once I was upon this summit 
with Sir Humphry Davy and Sir Walter Scott ; and many 
times have I trod it with my nearest and dearest rela- 
tives and friends, several of whom are gone — and others 
going — to their last abode. But I have touched upon 
too melancholy a string. Life is at best but a dream, and 
in times of political commotion it is too often crowded 
with ghostly images. God preserve us all I 

Affectionately yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Edward Moxon 

1 2th September, 1832. 
Dear Mr. Moxon, 

Mr. Pickersgill is the bearer of this to London. He 
has been here painting my portrait. We all like it exceed- 
ingly, so far as it is carried. It will be finished in Lon- 
don. Should you wish to see it in its present state, you 
can call at his house. . . . 

My sister does not recover strength. . . . 

W. Wordsworth, 


William Wordsworth to Thomas Arnold 

Rydal Mount, Tuesday, Sept 19th, 1832. 
My dear Sir, 

Yesterday Mr. Greenwood of Grasmere called, with a 
letter he had just received from Mr. Simpson — r the owner 
of Fox How — empowering Mr. G. to sign for him an agree- 
ment, either with yourself or any friend you may appoint, 
for the sale of that estate for ;^8oo ; possession to be 
given, and the money paid, next Candlemas. ... I need 
not say that it will give me pleasure to facilitate the pur- 
chase, as far as is in my power. . . . 

Faithfully yours, 

William Wordsworth. 


Dora Wordsworth to Mrs, Lawrence^ 

Rydal Mount, Sept. 27th, 1832. 
My dear Madam, 

My father bids me say that he has great pleasure in 
sending you Yarrow Revisited for your own portfolio. I 
have also added to this poem a sonnet (which we think 
very fine) written at the same time. Now that the great 
Light which called forth these lines is extinguished, per- 
haps I had done better not to have transcribed them, as 
they can only fill you with melancholy ; but yet when we 
consider the state of mind in which Sir Walter must have 

1 Wife of Charles Lawrence, Wavertree Hall, near Liverpool. — Ed. 


been left, had his bodily health recovered its tone, we 
ought only to rejoice in his " release." This is the word 
Mr. Lockhart made use of in the note which informed us 
of his father-in-law's death. 

You are most kindly interested in our picture, and will 
rejoice, I am sure, to hear that we, and all I think who 
have seen the portrait, consider it as a likeness perfect, 
and as a picture, so far as it is done, delightful ; but I will 
send a sonnet by the poet himself on the picture which 
tells everything. 

Only the face is finished, and the figure just rubbed in. 
He is placed on, or rather reclining upon, a rock on his 
own, terrace with his cloak thrown over him, and a sweet 
view of Rydal Lake in the distance. The attitude is 
particularly easy, and the whole thing perfectly free from 
anything like affectation. Mr. Pickersgill arrived the 
evening of the day on which we parted from you at Storrs, 
and remained with us ten days, and ten more pleasant 
days were never passed. The garret was our studio, our 
lowly cottage not affording a light sufficiently high for a 
painter in any other corner. And here we received all 
our company, whomsoever they might be, Mr. Pickersgill 
not caring how full the room was. He too, when you 
know him, is a most interesting person, so completely 
wrapped up in his pictures. And you may well imagine 
how grateful we feel to him for giving us such a picture 
of such a father. But enough; I am forgetting that 
every one cannot care about this said poet quite as much 
as his daughter does. We hope, indeed we feel all but 
sure, there will be a print from this picture, at least if 
about a hundred and fifty names can be procured (of 
which there can be no doubt, I think). Just to secure 
the engraver and publisher, the subscription is a guinea. 


Our good friend Mr. Bolton was the only fault-finder 
of among upwards of a hundred persons who saw it 
He said they had made him "too quiet," "too poetical"; 
he would have liked him " more animated." These 
faults I consider the charm of the picture. There is 
quite an angelic sweetness of expression with deep and 
quiet and happy thought. My aunt, Miss Wordsworth, 
is pretty well, but on the whole I fear I must not say 
better. Mr. Pickersgill I do think considered himsetf 
quite repaid for the loss of time in coming down by the 
pleasure which his picture gave to our dear invalids We 
can never hope that she will see it in its finished state. 
I feel as if I ought to apologize for troubling you with so 
long a letter, but that would only add to its length. 
Trusting therefore to your kind nature to forgive me for 
love of my father's muse, 

I remain, my dear madam. 

Yours very sincerely and much obliged, 

Dora Wordsworth. 

Dora Wordsworth to William Pearson 

^ ,^ Rydal Mount, Nov. i8th, 1832. 

Dear Mr. Pearson, 

Many thanks for your most interesting letter, which 
gave great pleasure at Rydal Mount, especially in our 
sick chamber. You know what a lover my dear aunt 
is, both of animate and inanimate Nature, and now that 
she is compelled to rest content with enjo3dng her at 
second-hand, you may guess how pleasant your little his- 
tory of our favourite robin-redbreast was to her subdued 
but cheerful spirit ; and so simply and prettily told I My 


father wishes for your permission (if you can give it), 
should an opportunity occur, to send it to the Naturalisfs 
Magazine^ or some other publication that receives like 
histories. . . . 

Now that all the birds of passage have left our moun- 
tain regions we are but seldom interrupted by strangers, 
so my father hopes you will find your way more fre- 
quently to Rydal Mount, for it will be ill luck, indeed, if 
you do not find him at this season at, or near, home. 

He and my mother and I passed the week before last 
with our friends, the Marshalls, at Halsteads on UUs- 
water. The weather was generally very fine, so that the 
noble scenery was looking its very best, and made me, I 
confess, a little jealous for our vales, certainly less grand 
as a whole, though perhaps, in their minutice, they may 
vie with those of Ullswater. 

Have you seen the first numbers of Mr. Hartley Cole- 
ridge's book, The Worthies of Yorkshire and Lancashire ? 
It was lent to us the other day. I have, as yet, but just 
peeped into it; but it seems well worth reading, as all 
that comes from his pen must be. It grieves one to 
think that so fine a mind should turn to so little account 
as his has done, and I fear will do; but genius, and 
commonplace industry and regularity, seem almost in- 
compatible. ... I have given you so long a family 
history that it needs some apology. I think I am 
unskillful in escaping from such snares. I will at any 
rate keep clear of making others for myself by bringing 
my epistle at once to a conclusion, and begging you to 
accept the kind regards of all this family, 
Believe me to remain. 

Yours very truly, 

Dora Wordsworth. 



William Wordsworth to Lady Frederick Bentinck 


. . . You were not mistaken in supposing that the 
state of public affairs has troubled me much. I cannot 
see how the government is to be carried on, but by such 
sacrifices to the democracy as will, sooner or later, upset 
everything. Whoever governs, it will be by out-bidding for 
popular favour those who went before them. Sir Robert 
Peel was obliged to give way in his government to the 
spirit of reform, as it is falsely called; these men are 
going beyond him ; and if ever he shall come back, it 
will only, I fear, be to carry on the movement in a shape 
somewhat less objectionable than it will take from the 
Whigs. In the meanwhile the Radicals, or Republicans, 
are. cunningly content to have this work done ostensibly 
by the Whigs, while in fact they themselves are the Whigs' 
masters, as the Whigs well know ; but they hope to be pre- 
served from destruction by throwing themselves back upon 
the Tories when measures shall be urged upon them by 
their masters which they may think too desperate. What 
I am most afraid of is alterations in the constituency and 
in the duration of Parliament, which will bring it more and 
more under the dominion of the lower and lowest classes. 
On this account I fear the proposed corporation reform, 
as a step towards household suffrage, vote by ballot, etc. 
As to a union of the Tories and Whigs in Parliament, I 
see no prospect of it whatever. To the great Whig lords 
may be truly applied the expression in Macbeth^ 

They have eaten of the insane root 
That takes the reason prisoner. 


... I ordered two copies of my new volume to be 
sent to Cottesmere. And now farewell ; and believe me, 
dear Lady Frederick, 

Ever faithfully yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 

William Wordsworth to Mrs, Hemans 

Rydal Mount, Nov. 22, [1832.] 
Dear Mrs. Hemans, 

I will not render this sheet more valueless than at 
best it will prove, by tedious apologies for not answering 
your very kind and welcome letter long and long ago. I 
received it in London, when my mind was in a most 
uneasy state, and when my eyes were useless both for 
writing and reading, so that an immediate reply was out 
of my power; and, since, I have been doubtful where to 
address you. Accept this, and something better, as my 
excuse, that I have very often thought of you with kind- 
ness and good wishes for your welfare, and that of your 
fine boys, who must recommend themselves to all that 
come in their way. Let me thank you in Dora's name 
for your present of The Remains of Lucretia Davidson^ a 
very extraordinary young creature, of whom I had before 
read some account in Mr. Southey's review of this volume. 
Surely many things, not often bestowed, must concur to 
make genius an enviable gift. This truth is painfully 
forced upon one's attention in reading the effusions and 
story of this enthusiast, hurried to her grave so early. 
You have, I understand, been a good deal in Dublin. 
The place, I hope, has less of the fever of intellectual, or 


rather literary, ambition than Edinburgh, and is less dis- 
quieted by factions and cabals of persons. As to those 
of parties, they must be odious and dreadful enough ; but 
since they have more to do with religion, the adherents 
of the different creeds perhaps mingle little together, and 
so the mischief to social intercourse, though great, will 
be somewhat less. 

I am not sure but that Miss Jewsbury has judged well 
in her determination of going to India. Europe is at 
present a melancholy spectacle, and these two Islands 
are likely to reap the fruit of their own folly and madness 
in becoming, for the present generation, the two most 
unquiet and miserable spots upon the earth. May you, 
my dear friend, find the advantage of the poetic spirit in 
raising you, in thought at least, above the contentious 
clouds ! Never before did I feel such reason to be 
grateful for what little inspiration heaven has graciously 
bestowed upon my humble intellect. What you kindly 
wrote upon the mterest you took during your travels in 
my verses could not but be grateful to me, because your 
own show that in a rare degree you understand and sym- 
pathise with me. We are all well, God be thanked. I 
am a wretched correspondent, as this scrawl abundantly 
shows. I know also that you have far too much, both of 
receiving and writing letters, but I cannot cc^nclude with- 
out expressing a wish that from time to time you would 
let us hear from you and yours, and how you prosper. 
All join with me in kindest remembrance to yourself and 
your boys, especially to Charles, of whom we know most 
Believe me, dear Mrs. Hemans, not the less for my long 

Faithfully and affectionately yours, 

Wm. Wordsworth. 



William Wordsworth to William Pearson 

Advice as to Travel on the Continent 
Mr, Wordsworth's Instructions 

... At Mayence turn from the Rhine to Frankfort, 
Darmstadt, Heidelberg, by Carlsruhe to Baden-Baden, 
Strasburg, then by Hornberg or Freiburg to Schaffhausen, 
see falls of the Rhine, then to Zurich, Wallenstadt lake, up 
the valley of Glarus, Altorf, Schwytz, Mt. Righi, Lucerne, 
Lake of Four Cantons, up the banks of the Reuss, over 
Mt. St. Gothard to Lake Maggiore, Boromean Islands, 
Lake Lugano, thence to Lake Como (which seq perfectly), 
Varese, Lake Orta, Domo d'Ossola (see religious stations 
and cells), over the mountain to Brieg in the Valais, turn 
off to Gemmi Pass, to Kander Grund and Lakes of Thun 
and Brienz, up the valley of Oberhasli, see falls of the 
Handec at Meyringen, thence to Lungern Zee, Samen, to 
Berne and Geneva by any way most promising, make 
the tour round the Lake of Geneva, see Chamouny, see 
as many of the passes as you can. . . .